Paul Mulrennan column: Raheen House looks solid in the St Leger

By Paul Mulrennan
Thu 14 Sep 2017

The world’s oldest Classic, the William Hill St Leger, looks an open contest this year and there are a couple of horses who look to represent good value.

Raheen House would be my first pick. He has done nothing but progress this season, building on a fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot to win the Bahrain Stakes at the July Festival.

He was a smooth winner that day, appreciating the step up to the one-mile-and-five-furlong trip and the extra furlong of the Leger will be right up his street.

He also won with a bit in hand and, after the race, Brian Meehan nominated the Leger so the last two months will have been geared around this race. He’s a nice price at around 12-1 - I think he’ll hit the frame at least.

Another at similar odds is Venice Beach, who, don’t forget, beat the Investec Derby winner, Wings Of Eagles, at Chester in May.

He got closest to Cracksman in the Great Voltigeur at York last time out, and many are talking about John Gosden's horse as a potential Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner. Venice Beach looks over-priced to me.

While on the subject of Cracksman, I don’t see why connections would have run him in the Prix Niel, which he won so impressively, if he wasn’t going to line up for the big French race.

The filly, Enable, clearly looks the one to beat, but bookmakers' uncertainty over Cracksman's participation has meant they've put him up as big as 10-1, which he obviously won't be on Arc day.

Cracksman - Frankie Dettori - Prix Niel - Chantilly - FocusOnRacing

Cracksman was impressive when winning the Prix Niel

I won’t be at Doncaster on Saturday but got very close to winning one of the big races of the Festival, the May Hill Stakes, on Thursday.

I must say I thought Dark Rose Angel was going to win. She battled really well and went half a length up in the final furlong but just got reeled in and beaten a head by Laurens, the favourite. Going into the race, I had her down as a 5-1 chance, given our fluent victory at Doncaster last time, so couldn’t believe she was returned at 14-1.

She has come on from her previous run and there will be more to come from her – it was just a shame we couldn’t hang on as I would have loved to have repaid Simon Crisford’s faith in keeping me on the filly.

I am at Musselburgh on Saturday and hopefully Eller Brook can get things rolling in the Coast To Coast Nursery Handicap.

David Armstrong’s juvenile is a filly we have always liked and appears to be on a nice mark in what will be her first run in a handicap.

She’s improved with each run and has really come to herself recently. We’re expecting a big run.

As I left Doncaster on Thursday I bumped into Bryan Smart, trainer of Gamesters Icon, who runs in the LG Pharmacy Ltd Lucky Gallop EBF Maiden Stakes.

He thinks she should run really well and I can see why looking at her last run, when she ran the odds-on favourite Exhort close at Thirsk last time.

The other one to keep an eye on is Akkadian Empire, trained by the man in form, Iain Jardine, who took on this horse from Mick Channon in the summer. He has been running with credit and the Deuchers IPA Handicap looks a good opportunity for him.

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