Looking ahead to the weekend’s racing

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  • HHO looks at some of the weekend’s big races at Doncaster, The Curragh and France

    There could be something of a local flavour to Saturday’s Rothmans Royals St Leger, Britain’s oldest and final classic, at Doncaster.

    Bollin Eric, trained by Tim Easterby near Malton in North Yorkshire, and ridden by Cock of the North jockey Kevin Darley, is fancied to give them their first taste of classic success in England.

    Tim Easterby and his father, Peter are the embodiment of racing in Yorkshire, while Darley, has enjoyed his greatest moments at Doncaster, being crowned champion jockey there in 2000 as well as winning two Racing Post Trophys on Celtic Swing and High Chaparral.

    They will be certain of a huge receptionfrom the locals if Bollin Eric can use his powerful gallop to full effect up the long, staring Doncaster straight.

    Both Easterby and Darley would like to see some rain for Bollin Eric, who was narrowly beaten in a three-way photo by St Legerfavourite Bandari and Highest at York last month. Easterby reports his colt “in great form”. Even without any ease in the ground Bollin Eric should still be able to provide the Easterbys with a memorable victory.

    Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Highest, also saddles Balakheri, a winner at Royal Ascot, and First Charter, successful at Goodwood last time. The St Leger is the one domestic classic to have eluded Stoute, his mighty Shergar was beaten in the race 21 years ago.

    Vinnie Roe is hot favourite to win a second Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Saturday before going into quarantine in preparation for the Melbourne Cup in Australia in November.

    On a weekend which could mould the scene for the coming months French Derby winner Sulamani has only two rivals in the Prix Niel at Longchamp on Sunday, his stepping stone to further glory in next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

    Van Nistelrooy, trained by Aidan O’Brien, puts his reputation on the line in Ireland’s National Stakes at The Curragh. A smooth victory could see him emerge as clear favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

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