St Leger Meeting 2013: Preview and Betting Odds for Thursday's Big Races

Christopher AtkinsContributor ISeptember 12, 2013

DONCASTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Harry Bentley riding Lightning Thunder (L) win The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes at Doncaster racecourse on September 11, 2013 in Doncaster, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The 2013 St Leger Meeting got underway at Doncaster on Wednesday, with four days of racing ahead in the buildup to the final Classic of the season on Saturday—the St Leger Stakes.

With 28 races over the four days, it promises to be a feast of racing, with five Group 2 races leading up to the oldest Classic of them all on Saturday.

Per BBC Weather, the forecast is good for Thursday, with little chance of rain until the late evening when racing will have been completed. Going was Good to Soft, as of 14:00 Wednesday, per the British Horseracing Authority.

*All times BST.


14:10 Sceptre Stakes (Group 3)

Open to thoroughbred fillies aged three years and over, the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes is run over seven furlongs at Doncaster on Thursday afternoon.

Heading the field will be Richard Hannon-trained filly Maureen, who has been racing in Group 1 events this year, per Gulf News. Having finished fourth in the Coronation Stakes, the UAE-owned horse appears the class act of the field.

A drop in distance from her previous high-profile meetings also should play in her favour, per Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt on Sporting Life, while she will also enjoy the soft ground.

Among the contenders will be Annecdote, who has achieved wins at both the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood this year and should not be written off.

However, trainer Jonathan Portman admits, via Sporting Life, that the soft going this week will not play in his horse's favour.

Winning Express, who ran Annecdote close at Goodwood, could be set to benefit after a three pounds pull in her weight, with trainer Ed McMahon backing his horse to make up for that defeat this time around.


15:15 Park Hill Stakes (Group 2)

A Group 2 fixture for fillies and mares aged three years and over, the Park Hill Stakes is run over one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards.

The Lark is the clear pre-race favourite, with the Michael Bell filly rated six pounds higher than any of her rivals and set to have the stamina to compete over the longer distance, per Holt.

Holt also tips Seal Of Approval as a possible contender, with three wins from her last four races, but it is The Lark who is the clear favourite with the bookmakers ahead of the race.

One possible question mark remains over a possible lack of speed, having performed poorly at Saint-Cloud in June, per Sky Sports. A third-place finish at The Oaks, though, marks her out as the one horse of real pedigree in the race.

Alta Lilea is third favourite with the bookmakers but performed poorly on her last outing, per Sporting Life. She has, though, previously finished ahead of both Jathabah and Jehannedarc in a Group 3 fixture.