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Monday, 15 October, 2018

Saturday round-up: on-target Defoe has Leger in his sights

Defoe: now a serious St Leger contender after his fourth straight victory
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The Racing Post’s course reporting team with the key talking points from Saturday's action in Britain and Ireland

Defoe displays striking ability

Defoe the footballer is a sharp, fox-in-the-box type – a player with the ability to sniff a chance from nowhere and put it away in a flash.

Defoe the thoroughbred does things a little slower, but connections will not worry about that if he lands the William Hill St Leger on September 16 – and given the way he won the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury, there is every possibility of that.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni – Mr Doncaster with two St Legers and four Racing Post Trophys on his CV – spoke warmly of the colt’s sound mind, improving nature and relaxed attitude after his cosy success – hallmarks that will come in handy in a slog up Doncaster’s long home straight.

Fast ground would be a worry, but with four victories on the bounce Defoe certainly knows where the winning post is, and just like his namesake knows where the net is.
James Burn, Newbury

Crisford’s Angel could be heaven-sent

It is probably unusual for a trainer in their third season to have had more than a third of their winners come from juveniles, but Simon Crisford is no ordinary trainer.

Godolphin’s former racing manager has enjoyed excellent patronage but has more than repaid his investors so far.

All he needs now is a Group horse for his yard to really break through, and it could just be that Doncaster winner Dark Rose Angel is the filly to do it.

There were a couple of well-touted fillies from big yards against her on Town Moor and, while there is reason to think neither put their best foot forward, it would also be reasonable to say Dark Rose Angel could have been more emphatic had Paul Mulrennan asked her.

A step up in grade beckons, maybe even back here for the May Hill at the St Leger meeting.
Keith Melrose, Doncaster

Simon Crisford: trains Dark Rose Angel

Stands’ side place to be on the July course

If recent racing at Newmarket’s July course has told us anything it’s that the stands’ side is the place to be, with a horse’s chance of winning seemingly decreasing with every yard further away from the watching crowd a jockey takes it.

It remains a surprise, therefore, to see so many jockeys still making their way towards the middle and far side, as several did during yesterday’s £45,000 feature. Needless to say, the two horses who fought out a tight finish came up the stands’ rail.

In the nursery a little later they did it again, although amusingly there appeared to be a collective moment of clarity as the runners soon made their way back towards where they should have been.

Horses and jockeys are not machines and, like all of us in our own jobs, the human participants are going to make mistakes from time to time.

Level-headed punters can accept that. What’s harder to stomach is seeing your horse's chance instantly diminished by what can be described only as rank bad decision-making.

Two meetings remain before Newmarket's focus switches back to the Rowley Mile. Perhaps the penny will finally drop before then.
Mark Scully, Newmarket

Ripon’s big day marred by tragedy

Ripon’s biggest day of the year, which attracted a crowd of 9,500, was tinged with sadness with the loss of two horses, and two riders being taken to hospital.

Eight-year-old Jack Dexter has been a stalwart of the Jim Goldie stable since 2012, but having travelled down from Lanarkshire with just him in the horsebox the trainer had to travel back without him after he fractured a cannon-bone.

Despite all his years in the game it was a loss that hit Goldie hard, for he was too upset to talk after the race.

Later on the well-supported Mount Rock took a fatal fall with Nathan Evans a quarter of a mile from home when clipping heels in the mile handicap, bringing down Rachel Richardson on Just Hiss.

Mount Rock fractured his right foreleg but Just Hiss cantered back seemingly unscathed.

Both riders were taken by ambulance to Harrogate District Hospital, with Evans suffering from concussion and Richardson having a left shoulder injury, according to clerk of the course James Hutchinson.
Colin Russell, Ripon

Jack Dexter: his death marred Ripon's big day of the year

Order Of St George shows his class

You’ve got to admire any horse who wins a Group race three years on the spin – and there’s plenty to admire anyway about Order Of St George, who hacked up in the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh to complete a hat-trick of wins in the race.

Versatile, consistent, always there or thereabouts – fifth is the worst he has done in 19 starts, nine of which he’s won – it would be no surprise if he were to race on at six with Coolmore more inclined to keep their stayers racing than their milers.

He’s 9-2 now for the 2018 Ascot Gold Cup and, while that’s a long way off, it’s not a bad price if you’re a long-termer.
Tony O’Hehir, the Curragh

With four victories on the bounce Defoe certainly knows where the winning post is, and just like his namesake knows where the net is
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