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St Leger Festival Day 1 Tips: Can Althiqa land the Sceptre Stakes?

| 08.09.2020

There are 6,000 extra reasons to cheer on Day 1 of the St Leger at Doncaster, with spectators set to return to the racecourse for the first time since March.

They’ll bear witness to a fascinating opening afternoon on Town Moor, which features the Listed Scarborough Stakes at 14:10 and the Group 3 Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at 15:15.

We’ve previewed best of the action up at Donny, and the two supplementary races from Kempton, in our St Leger Festival Betting Tips.


Althiqa could take some stopping in the main race of the day for Godolphin. The Dark Angel filly has run creditably on each of her five starts this season and is already a Listed winner having struck in France.

Her subsequent effort behind multiple Group 1 winner One Master and Cork Group 3 winner Valeria Messalina at Glorious Goodwood stands up to scrutiny, especially when you take into consideration that Breathtaking Look, who was 2l back in fourth, has also come out since and won a Group 3 across the Channel.

The form is good and providing nothing else in the race takes a significant step forward, Charlie Appleby’s inmate probably rates as the one to beat.

Market leader and main rival Jubiloso should be shown to better effect over 7f after bombing out in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes over 1m, while Listed winner Mubtasimah is also expected to go close after a break.

Elsewhere, Bounce The Blues is a new recruit to the Andrew Balding yard following an impressive win in Group 3 company across the Irish Sea and is also capable of mounting a significant challenge.


There’s an open feel to this 5f sprint which could go the way of Moss Gill. James Bethell’s charge enjoyed a progressive three-year-old campaign and has kicked on well again this season in three runs since lockdown.

The son of No Nay Never was outclassed in the Palace House at Newmarket but bounced back to win a hot Listed race at York before finishing an impressive third behind Battaash in the Nunthorpe despite being held up.

Give the benefit of a clear run he looks capable of getting back to winning ways in a field which lacks star quality outside of likeable six-year-old Dakota Gold, who is a three-time winner at this level.

Michael Dods’s hopeful was runner-up to the unbeaten Starman on the Knavesmire on Sunday, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares back out for his fourth run in under a month.

Outside of the main pair, two-year-old Acklam Express will receive a bundle of weight from all and sundry as he bids to land the four-timer for trainer Nigel Tinkler. He won in Listed company last time out and can’t be discounted.


This is another open-looking contest with a whole host of interesting contenders, including Derevo and Caradoc, both of whom are almost certainly better than they showed in their last runs at Ascot and York respectively.

However, one worth taking a second look at is Mayfair Spirit. Charlie Fellowes’ raider is halfway down the betting but is two from two on the going and three from five over the distance, which piques our interest.

Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as that, but the four-year-old has run well the last twice at both Windsor and Newmarket, getting his head in front in the former and producing a clean enough run in the latter.

He has the benefit of a low draw here, which has proved important in this contest in the past and looks to have potential at an each-way price. It’s a similar story for Sky Defender who has been around the block enough times now but remains of interest having run consistently well of late.

Strait of Hormuz should also be there or thereabouts following a runner-up berth on his first attempt at this distance. He gets the assistance of Andrea Atzeni on board, who won this race in 2016, 2017 and 2018.


13:40 Doncaster – Nursery Handicap

13:55 Kempton – Extra Place Offers Every Day Handicap

14:10 Doncaster – Scarborough Stakes (Listed)

14:25 Kempton – 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap

14:40 Doncaster – Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes

15:15 Doncaster – Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3)

15:45 Doncaster – Each Way Extra Handicap

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.