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Tuesday, 15 January, 2019

The horses and the clashes to whet the appetite for the Leger festival

Havana Grey: a possible for the Flying Childers
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Four fantastic days of racing are set to take place at Doncaster this week, starting on Wednesday and ending on Saturday with the William Hill St Leger itself. Here we look at some of the horses and the races that should make it a meeting to remember

Lingering on racing legends

Racing is constantly looking to the future, barely lingering on a performance or issue before throwing it forward to see what might be next.

So it is always a great pleasure to be able to look back at the past and celebrate what has been before. Few races do this better than the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes.

Twelve jockeys from the past will get the leg up to ride, headed by 70-year-old George Duffield.

Rule Brittanic?

January 11 was a long time ago, but on that day at Newcastle Brittanic produced a performance laced with potential.

Trained by David Simcock for the Never Say Die Partnership, Brittanic is two wins from two but has not raced since that cold January day eight months ago.

Should he get the go-ahead to make his turf debut on Thursday it will be fascinating to see if he can build on what he has shown so far, and perhaps make up for lost time.

Heartache v Havana Grey

Trainers Clive Cox and Karl Burke can do little wrong with their juveniles this season, so it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in the Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes.

Cox is set to saddle his impressive Queen Mary Stakes winner Heartache in the 5f Group 2, where she will meet, among others, Molecomb Stakes scorer Havana Grey.

The pair have both been beaten by Burke's Unfortunately in the Prix Robert Papin (Heartache) and Prix Morny (Havana Grey), but he will not be in the line-up.

Given the form of these two trainers, you wonder whether it is worth the other handlers bothering to send anything against them either.

SUNBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Jockey Ryan Moore rides Billesdon Brook to victory for his 2000th British winner at Kempton Park racecourse on July 5, 2017 in Sunbury, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

May the force be with you

What to make of the May Hill Stakes? There have been some extremely good winners of the race in the past ten years, but their record as three-year-olds is rather lacklustre.

Richard Hannon has two of the most interesting contenders in the shape of Billesdon Brook and Tajaanus, while Laurens has considerable potential for Karl Burke.

So enjoy Thursday’s contest, and let us all hope the winner can go on to make an impact beyond this race and into next season.

Sir Michael Stoute v St Leger

Yes, Sir Michael Stoute has broken his St Leger hoodoo – Conduit sorted that by taking victory in 2008 – but there must still be a few nerves around Crystal Ocean.

Impressive winner of the Gordon Stakes last time, Crystal Ocean will bid to emulate Conduit rather than the likes of Shergar, who met with defeat at Doncaster.

Those looking to stop Crystal Ocean include Capri, winner of the Irish Derby, Goodwood Cup scorer Stradivarius and Defoe, who landed the Geoffrey Freer Stakes on his last start.

Clive Cox and Karl Burke can do little wrong with their juveniles this season

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