Paul Jacobs makes his selections for September’s big races
Naps king believes long home run at Doncaster may suit Coronet
September is always a rich tapestry for Flat racing with the final Classic of the season, the St Leger, the Ayr Gold Cup, Irish Champion Stakes, the Haydock Sprint Cup and, of course, a bunch of two-year-old championship races at Newmarket.
As regular readers know, betting antepost has always been at the core of my betting profile and the St Leger (September 16) is building into a superb and indeed open renewal.
The final Classic of the season has in recent years centred around the big yards until the refreshing success of the Laura Mongan trained Harbour Law last year, but the 2017 version looks set to be dominated by the big yards again.
At the time of writing Aidan O’Brien has an amazing 18 of the 45 entries with the likes of Irish Derby winner Capri and Venice Beach heading the way for the Ballydoyle yard.
Stoutey has Gordon Stakes winner Crystal Ocean,while Gosden has a major hand with Stradivarius and CORONET.
The last named has always looked an out-and-out stayer on just about every start since her career winning debut at Leicester over a mile.
She didn’t get the race run to suit last time out in the Irish Oaks where the short straight was not a plus,but the long home run at Doncaster added to some give in the ground would be a perfect set-up for her and I have already waded in at 25/1,16’s is still available.
But I just have had a back-up bet. Following his success in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes I was waiting for DEFOE to be cut to around 4/1 and I am still dumbfounded that 8/1 is still on offer.He stays well,has a high cruising speed, a good turn of foot and, probably most important of all, is a straight forward ride. The fact that Varian and Atzeni have a fantastic record at Town Moor is a further incentive.
Let’s move onto one of the hardest handicaps of the year, the Ayr Gold Cup (Sept 23).
Courtesy of his win in the Great St Wilfrid and from a hugely astute yard, MATTMU (20/1) has to be on my list. He remains well handicapped, still has few miles on the clock (20 runs) and I’m sure a soft ground Gold Cup will be right up his street.
I still feel Projection has a big sprint in him as Ripon wasn’t his track last time out, but I’m scared of a soft ground renewal so although favourite, SHANGHAI GLORY is the call.
The ground was barely soft enough for him in the St Wilfrid, a closing third in the wrong side. If Charlie Hills can keep him sweet for the next few weeks and soft ground prevails then 16/1 could be a big price on the day.
Finally, the Haydock Sprint Cup (September 9) and I am hoping that DREAM CASTLE is finally stepped down to his perfect trip of 6f.
A free running sort with loads of speed, his second in the Greenham was a fabulous effort and since his earlier win at Doncaster he has never been allowed to stride on and use his natural speed; this race would be perfect for him so grab the 20/1.