Autumn racing essential viewing

September 15th, 2015 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

There are a few days in the autumn racing programme which are essential viewing, and St Leger and Arc trials weekend must rank top of the list. Apart from the final Classic of the season there is also an informative support card at Doncaster, the Irish Champion Stakes and then three important Arc trials on Sunday.

It’s hard to know where to start, but having taken time to watch reruns of the St Leger I feel that in the context of recent times the stewards’ decision to disqualify Simple Verse was incorrect. Years ago, or currently in the States and perhaps France, there would be no question that the winner would have been thrown out, but in this country it’s different and to my eyes Bondi Beach had every chance of taking the lead yet at no stage did he strike the front. By contrast the filly had to force her way through a narrow gap and gamely held on to the line, despite not appearing to be as hard ridden as the one-paced runner-up.

Hearing the jockeys put forward their arguments in the stewards’ room afterwards Andrea Atzeni could and should have made a stronger case in his defence. From what I could hear his argument lacked conviction and he was unwise to conclude with the words that “it was 50/50”. It would be inappropriate to prejudge the result of the appeal, but in my view there is a good chance that the decision will be reversed.

Earlier Atzeni had been more fortunate on Limato, who ran out a hugely impressive of the Group 2 Park Stakes despite being well out of his ground for much of the race. It is rare to see a horse quicken to pass as many horses as he did – especially at this level – and then surge clear to win by such a wide margin. This was the colt’s first attempt at seven furlongs although with a dam by Singspiel that won over ten furlongs, and has produced a winning hurdler, I never doubted he would stay the trip and perhaps even further.

Limato handled the good to soft ground well, even though trainer Henry Candy says he is better suited to quicker going. On this evidence he can win at Group 1 level, if not this season then next. Also at Doncaster I was delighted to see Hoof It return to winning ways for my clients, while Tashweeq and Emotionless look set for Classic targets next season.

In Ireland Golden Horn’s courage and tenacity got him home in the Irish Champion Stakes after a collision a quarter of a mile from home with Free Eagle. He had a hard race here and I just wonder whether his long season may take its toll come Arc day. Talking of the Arc, it was interesting to find that Postponed – visually the least impressive of the three winners last Sunday – put in the fastest time of the three races by almost two seconds. The general consensus was that Postponed’s three-quarter length defeat of Spiritjim did not compare with the form shown by Treve in the Vermeille or New Bay in the Niel, but it would be wrong to underestimate Luca Cumani’s son of Dubawi, especially as the soft ground would not have been in his favour.

As you are aware I have been keen for some time on New Bay for the Arc, but there is no getting away from the way Treve put over four lengths between herself and the second in just a matter of strides. This was a breathtakingly impressive display and it’s no surprise that the bookmakers now offer no more than evens. New Bay is still fair each-way value at 5/1 while Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs are next best at 7/1 and 10/1 respectively. Postponed is overpriced at 20/1. I have to say that this year’s Arc looks as good as any in recent years. With a packed autumn programme already upon us we are heading for a tremendous end to the season.

Bye for now.