It’s a big week at Doncaster with the St Leger meeting starting on Wednesday September 8. The first day of the meeting sees the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes. This is a race for fillies and mares aged three years and over and run over a distance of seven furlongs and six yards. The forecast going is Good to Firm and the winner receives £45,368.
This race is named after the St Leger winner, Sceptre. Trainer Andrew Balding has trained the winner in two of the last three years. Roger Varian has also trained two winners of the Sceptre Stakes in 2016 and 2018.
In 2020, it was Foxtrot Lady, ridden by Frankie Dettori that won at the rather tasty price of 18/1, her first win since 2018. Foxtrot Lady was five-years-old when winning last year. That was the second time in three years that a five-year-old has won this race.
Who will be the winner in 2021?
Let’s take a look at the current odds and here is a Horse.bet analyst’s take on top contenders.
Joseph Patrick O’Brien runs Pretty Gorgeous in this race and has a good chance of success. Hopefully the filly will have better luck than in her last outing at Tipperary on August 26. Pretty Gorgeous finished eighth in the Group 3 race but was bumped at the start and hampered later on.
Earlier this year, this three-year-old was taking part in Group 1 races such as the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Irish 1000 Guineas. Those races were over a mile and a couple on heavy ground. A drop in class, better ground and down to seven furlongs will be of great assistance. Pretty Gorgeous won a Group 2 race over this distance last year, so betting experts are confident of a good run in this race, reported Daily Mail.
Four-year-old With Thanks is trained by William Haggas and has already won a Group 3 race. That was last year at Naas over this distance, winning by five lengths on heavy ground. May of this year saw With Thanks finish seventh in the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock when taking a keen hold.
The only other race in 2021 was on the all-weather at Chelmsford in July in a Listed race. Best to forget that though as only seventh place was achieved and With Thanks didn’t appreciate the surface. Back on turf, this runner can put in a better performance.
Highfield Prince is another runner with a good chance of winning the Sceptre Stakes. Trained by John Quinn, the four-year-old is bidding to win a fourth race of the year. Successes include the Class 2 Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June over seven furlongs. That was followed by a win in a Listed race on the all-weather at Chelmsford. horsesandcourses.net
No hat-trick though as Highfield Prince only finished third in a Group 3 race at Goodwood at the end of July. The last outing for this runner was a creditable second behind Space Blues at York on August 21 in a Group 2 race. Back down to Group 3, a good chance is held here for this Sceptre Stakes and Highfield Prince has won on this ground, so another plus.