The St Leger Festival begins at Doncaster today and it is usually four days of high-quality racing.
15:20 Pepsi Max Scarborough Stakes
The main race on the first day is a five-furlong Listed race and although there are just the six runners, it is a competitive event.
Final Venture, trained by Paul Midgley, is the current favourite at around 13/8, and it's been a little while since he has been in the winner's enclosure. He has been running quite consistently, however, and his last win was over this trip on soft going at Haydock. Knowing he is sure to like these conditions is a big plus and he is comfortably the highest rated in this field. Oisin Murphy takes the ride today and he has a useful record here at Doncaster, being 17/83 (20.48%) over the past five years for a level stakes profit of 12.12.
The Nigel Tinkler trained Thesme has raced in a couple of Group races this year but appeared to be outclassed, however, they were both on much firmer ground and she looks to appreciate a little give underfoot. She was a very respectable fifth in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York last summer so there is undoubtedly some class there and she looked to be coming back into some kind of form last time out finishing third in a strong handicap at York. Dettori is on board again today and I think she has a chance if running to her full ability as she is getting eight pounds from the favourite.
Encore D'or is sure to be of interest to plenty of punters with Ryan Moore on top today. This Oasis Dream gelding was beaten comfortably by Final Venture at York in July and he will need to improve on that performance if he is going to trouble the front two in the market.
Paul Midgley has another runner in this, and Desert Law won a couple of good handicaps in August before finishing sixth in a Listed race at Beverley (Final Venture was second). He wasn't beaten that far by Final Venture and it will be interesting to see if he can get any closer with the much softer conditions they are facing today.
Thesme - 2 points @ 2/1