Ryan Moore: My verdict on the big races on day three of the St Leger Festival
We're into day three of the St Leger Festival on Friday and Ryan Moore is on hand with his exclusive thoughts on the key races...
"Clondaw Warrior was getting 7lb from Fun Mac when he beat him by a half a length in the Ascot Stakes, and they meet on level terms here, so that gives Fun Mac a big chance. He was withdrawn at the start of the Ebor, but he ran well at Goodwood subsequently to finish second in the Listed March Stakes. He still has scope for progression as a stayer, and he could be the one for this."
This is a good race. Gutaifan brings a high level of form into the race, he won the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte at the end of July, and he finished second to Shalaa in the Prix Morny at Deauville last month. He is a worthy favourite.
Bear Cheek is an interesting filly, she has won both her races to date, her maiden at Naas and a Group 3 race at The Curragh last time. Ornate has always been highly regarded, he was a little disappointing in a listed race at York last time, but he had won his maiden by five lengths before that and he remains unexposed.
Areen, strong>Log Out Island and Independence Day are all ones to watch, but it is difficult to see past Gutaifan. The race should be interesting with next year's three-year-old sprints in mind.
Most of the usual suspects line up here in the Mallard Handicap. Polarisation will be having his 14th run of the season. He keeps going up in the handicap but he keeps on going forward.
Battersea is due to run again, he has been well beaten on his two runs this season so far, and he was a late withdrawal from the Old Borough Cup at Haydock on Saturday but, if he could return to last season's form, he would be a player in this off a mark of 97.
I was impressed with Not Never at Chester on his seasonal debut, and he was only just beaten by Polarisation in the Melrose Handicap at York off a mark of 91. A 4lb hike for that is fair, he meets Polarisation on 9lb better terms for a head beating, and he has only run five times, so he is still open to improvement.
Pressure Point is back again, having finished seventh in the Old Borough Cup, and I think that Forgotten Voice is better in handicaps, carrying big weights, than in Group races, but my pick would probably be Not Never. He is the one who is open to most improvement.
This isn't the strongest race for a Group 2 contest. Seamour is an improving stayer, he stayed on well to win at Ascot last time on soft ground, but he handles good ground too. He will have to improve again if he is to win this, but he is progressive.
Suegioo ran a hell of a race in the Ebor, staying on from the rear to take third place. He is at his best on easy ground, but if there was any easing of conditions, he would have a real chance.
Clondaw Warrior was disappointing in the Ebor, but he had been in really good form all year before that. That said, he was getting 7lb from Fun Mac when he beat him by a half a length in the Ascot Stakes, and they meet on level terms here, so that gives Fun Mac a big chance.
He was withdrawn at the start of the Ebor, but he ran well at Goodwood subsequently to finish second in the Listed March Stakes. He still has scope for progression as a stayer, and he could be the one for this. (editor - Tony Calvin also likes Fun Mac here)
Hawksmoor probably brings the best form into the race. She stayed on well to win the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last time, and the step up from seven furlongs to a mile will suit her. However, there are several unexposed fillies in here who could progress past her.
Pure Diamond won very easily at Kempton last time. She is obviously highly regarded and there is no reason why she won't act as well on turf as on Polytrack. She falls into the could-be-anything category, but you often need experience for a May Hill. A mile at Doncaster can be tough enough for juvenile fillies.
Marenko finished a close-up third behind Blue Bayou and Fireglow in the Sweet Solera Stakes last month, then followed up by finishing second, beaten just a neck by her stable companion Great Page in a Group 3 race at Deauville two weeks later.
Gypsy Eyes made all to win well at Newmarket on her only run so far, and it is interesting that Eddie Lynam in sending Midnight Crossing for the race, a race that he won last year with Agnes Stewart.
It is also interesting that Jim Bolger sends Turret Rocks over. She was third behind a talented filly in Tanaza in a Group 3 race at Leopardstown, then followed up by finishing a close-up fourth behind Ballydoyle in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes. Both of those races were over seven furlongs, and she shaped in both as if she would be suited by a step up to a mile.
It's an interesting May Hill, and Turret Rocks brings an interesting dimension to it.