Doncaster St Leger Festival: Battersea the best bet to score for Varian in Mallard Stakes
David Metcalf | September 8, 2016
Battersea has a big betting shout in Mallard Stakes
Battersea caught the eye last time out and looks decent value to land the 1m 6f Mallard Stakes on day three of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival (15:05).
The Roger Varian trained five-year-old is a three-time winner who ran a blinder in the race 12 months ago when staying on strongly from off the pace to be beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Curbyourenthusiasm.
Although now 10lb higher in the weights, Battersea has looked as good as ever this season and a mark of 107 looks workable on the pick of his form.
After landing a competitive handicap at Meydan back in February, Battersea ran a stormer in a Group 3 contest at the same venue when staying on to finish a 4 1/2 length fourth of 14 to the now 113-rated Sheikhzayedroad.
It was a fine effort given how the race panned out, and after being given a 126 day break Battersea has gradually worked his way back into form in three starts.
Cracking run in Ebor
In the last of those, the son of Galileo shaped far better than the bares result suggest when fourth of 20 to Heartbreak City in the ultra-competitive Ebor Handicap at York.
After being dropped in at the rear of the field from an unfavourable high draw, Battersea had a mountain to climb rounding the home turn but stayed on powerfully up the straight to be nearest at the finish and beaten 5 3/4 lengths.
It was an effort which suggested his time was near and this class 2 contest is less demanding.
Wall Of Fire feared most
Wall Of Fire has a progressive profile, so looks a massive player off bottom weight and exploitable odds.
The Hugo Palmer trained colt is the only three-year-old in the field and comes into the contest having won two of his last three starts.
Wall Of Fire was particularly impressive in the last of those when forging clear to beat Regal Monarch by 2 1/4 lengths in the Melrose Stakes at York.
The handicapper has hit him with an 8lb rise for that runway victory, but Wall Of Fire is clearly thriving and looks the type who should have even more to offer.
Other pluses are that the son of Canford Cliffs has the services in the saddle of Josephine Gordon, who is outstanding value for her 3lb claim, and hails from a yard that is in fine form and has a 22 per cent strike rate at the track in the past 12 months.
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Coral’s top tip: Battersea ran a blinder in the Ebor, so looks worth a wager to get back to winning ways in a less competitive contest. The progressive Wall Of Fire hails from a red-hot yard and rates the main danger.