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Racing Weekly: More Classic success for O’Brien in St Leger

It is the final British Classic of the season this weekend and the Racing Weekly team cast their eye towards the St Leger from Doncaster.

They also review the action from Irish Champions Weekend and the Sprint Cup from Haydock.

Steve Ryder is in the host's chair and he is joined by Racing Weekly regular Sam Turner and also Ken Pitterson.

Panel take on Gregory in competitive St Leger

Gregory goes into the St Leger at Doncaster at 5/2 to give Frankie Dettori a seventh success in the race. However, the panel do not believe there will be another fairytale ending for the Italian in his final season in the saddle.

Aidan O’Brien is set to saddle four of the nine runners in the field and Turner is expecting the Irish maestro to win the British Classic for a seventh time with Continuous (10/3).

He said: "I am happy to be on Continuous, who has had a fairly light campaign. He was well fancied for the French Derby earlier this year, which shows you they think he is a quality horse. I really like his run last time out.

"I know Ryan Moore got the tactics right and one or two of the others didn’t in the Great Voltigeur, but his form stacks up well and I think he can continue to thrive."

William Haggas will be hoping hat-trick seeking Desert Hero can give him a first St Leger triumph and Pitterson has been impressed by what he has seen from the son of Sea The Stars this season.

"He has done very little wrong, and he goes there quite fresh," said Pitterson. "He didn’t run badly in the London Gold Cup first time out at Newbury and since then he has improved with each appearance, winning at Ascot and then at Glorious Goodwood.

"In the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time out, you could see Tom Marquand was looking for space with his horse. Once the gap appeared, he was gone. It was an impressive turn of foot. I think he has the class and stamina for this race."

More to come from Sweet William predicts Pitterson

The Group Two Doncaster Cup is the feature race on Friday, with the stayers in action at Town Moor.

Sweet William (11/4) returns to action after finishing second in the Ebor at York last month and Pitterson believes there is more to come from the four-year-old, and he likes his chances in this 2m2f contest.

He said: "He was unlucky not to win the Ebor. It was just an inspiring day for Frankie when everything went right for him. He is an improving type and I like a horse with that type of profile coming into this race.

"I respect Coltrane, who has had an excellent season, but Sweet William is a horse who has proved he can go on all types of ground. I think there is much more to come from him."

Auguste Rodin bounces back at Leopardstown

Dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin bounced back from a disappointing run in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes to win the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on day one of Irish Champions Weekend.

O’Brien’s runner - who is now 12/1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and 4/1 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf - beat a strong field that included stablemate Luxembourg and Derby runner-up King Of Steel.

Pitterson praised the colt’s trainer for once again getting him back to peak condition. He also noticed a small change which he believes could have made a huge difference. 

He said: "Aidan O’Brien has now done it twice with this horse, getting him back to his best following a bad run. On Saturday he looked a lot better physically. You could see he had put on condition. The rest had done him good.

"One thing I did notice is that Aidan put a cross-noseband on him. Now that is something Aidan does not do with any of his horses. He settled for Ryan going to post and it may have made a big difference.

"Ballydoyle had the front three runners early on and I think everyone else sat too far off them. They gave Ryan two or three lengths and that made a difference, as once he hit the front, he did not pull away, he just did enough."

Shaquille runs flat in Haydock’s Sprint Cup

The Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock was won by Regional for trainer Edward Bethell last Saturday. The horse continued his excellent record at the Lancashire racecourse. 

Commonwealth Cup and July Cup winner Shaquille was the big disappointment of the race. He came home in last place after fading tamely from the halfway point.

He is now 6/1 for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes on British Champions Day.

Turner believes the way the race panned out might not have suited Julie Camacho’s star horse.

He said: "Shaquille got upset at the start and then he burst out of the stalls and looked to be on terms.

"It’s funny that horses can get used to dropping to the back of a field and then passing runners - then when that comes into reverse and they hit the front early, mentally it can affect them.

"You have to hand it the connections of the winner. He was a cheap purchase and he takes his record at Haydock to three from three.

"His owners want to go to the Breeders’ Cup now and I think he will be well suited to the trailblazers at Santa Anita."

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