Pixeleen still in good form

September 12th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

The only high spot this week was Heartsong winning again at Brighton. She has been a good source of profit on the line, though the 6/4 after her 10/1 success at Chepstow was rather disappointing. The handicapper will make things very hard for her now but John Gallagher will be happy enough. His small yard continues in good form, incidentally.

Doncaster has not worked out at all for me this year (so far) and I misread the Doncaster Cup, where I thought William Of Orange had a leading chance. If ever there was a contest to highlight the gap between Pattern race form and handicaps, I suppose this was it. He carried a big weight with great distinction in the marathon Goodwood Stakes and I thought two and a quarter miles here would suit him down to the ground. In fact, you could argue that Sir Mark Prescott effectively used him as a pacemaker, merely lobbing along in front until stable-companion Pallasator cruised past and went on to win well. William Of Orange weakened immediately and was my biggest disappointment of the year to date.

Of course, finding Pallasator, who is a tricky individual and had not shown a great deal himself of late, was still a difficult task. 9/2 favourite made no appeal to me, although I suppose Sir Mark, who invariable stops for a char a the races, would have put me straight regarding the relative chances of the pair  –  too late by then, needless to say.

There can’t be many meetings where not one but two former Stewards’ Cup winners finally return to the winner’s enclosure having tumbled down the ratings. Yet that is that is what Rex Imperator and Hoof It did, the latter accounting for this year’s Goodwood runner-up Toofi with the frustrating Shore Step back in third. You can generally rely on Mick Channon eventually finding a race for these sprint handicappers but with Shore Step I’m far from confident because the handicapper has him taped.

One other point concerns a little race at Chester, an amateur riders’ affair, on Friday. Anyone who watched this closely will have seen how good Mr Phil Collington is and I don’t know why we don’t see more of him. However, if you’re drawn wide and bumped at the start, as Al’s Memory was, you still have very little chance. Whether the horse would have come through and finished in the frame if switched to the inside is a moot point but he certainly couldn’t get there by staying on the outer, hard though Mr Collingon tried, switching whip hands and driving on like a professional, but with an impossible task. This is the one and only thing I took from Friday  –  the determination to follow him wherever he turns up.

Where Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger is concerned, the race is similar to last year’s in that Storm The Stars’ Derby form gives him much the same chance as Kingston Hill. It’s the best form, William Haggas is ultra-reliable and you either fancy the 7/4 or you don’t. The horse is clearly the one to beat and, though the event does not attract me as a betting medium, I would not oppose him.

The Portland looks as intricate as ever and the advice is to cover Dandy Nicholls’ pair, Kimberella and Barnet Fair, each-way. There is probably something lurking that has been set aside for it and David O’Meara is particularly dangerous in this type of sprint handicap, but Dandy’s two are running well and may make the frame.

There is a decent sprint race for fillies at Bath and, on a day when the course runs the Malcolm Saunders Handicap later on, the Mendiops trainer may score with the very tough and consistent PIXELEEN, busy though she has been lately.