Horse Racing

St Leger Festival day 3 tips – Makanah can make it another winning day

And we’re on to the big one. The Saturday of the St Leger Festival is always the best day, there’s no denying that, while this one could even more special as the legendary Frankie Dettori bids farewell to the final classic of the season for the last time ever. Not only does the Betfred St Leger Stakes itself take place, but there’s a whole hosts of excellent races to get stuck into, including a total of three Group races and some ultra competitive handicaps.

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Photo by Icon Sport.

The third day of the meeting kicks off with a Group 2 race and ends with a fantastically competitive handicap race, while there’s some great action in the middle too, so it should be a great afternoon both for those in attendance at the South Yorkshire venue and those watching on TV.

Betting tips for day three of the St Leger Festival

Day two was another successful one, as more winners were nailed, with Dancing Gemini (pictured above), recommended at 10/1, leading the field a merry dance being a particular highlight. We now look ahead of to the third day of the meeting. Could there be a third winning day in store? After diving back into the form book ahead of Saturday, here are what appear to be the best bets:

14:25 – Betfred Portland

The most competitive race of the day is without a doubt the Betfred Portland, which takes place at 14:25 and will be run over a sharp five furlongs. There really are lots in with chances here, including the early market leader Call Me Ginger, who chases a hat-trick, though another rise in the weights following that last success may just be enough to put an end to his current winning run.

Makanah is a horse that I really like for this race. I recently put this horse up as an each-way shout at quite chunky odds ahead a similarly competitive handicap at York, as anyone who remembers reading ahead of the opening day of the Ebor Festival will know. He ran very well there, running on well to finish a close-up fourth (of 20). As far as I’m concerned, that form should be taken seriously, so much so that he rates as one of the most likely winners of this contest. As such early odds of 12/1 look ever so slightly generous.

That race at York came on fast ground, but this horse won’t mind any dig in the ground, which there should be in the first few days are anything to go by, as he’s won on both soft and good-to-soft. He also ran very well in this race last year, and did so from higher in the weights. On that occasion, from a rating of 101, he ran on late in the day to finish a respectable sixth having not being ideally placed. Now 5 lbs lower in the handicap, off the back of that very good run at York, I can’t but think he’s weighted to go very close here. For my money, 12/1 is too good to miss.

Best bet – Makanah (each-way) @ 12/1

17:20 – Hippo Pro 3 Sealant Handicap

The third day of the St Leger Festival ends with a tricky little affair, one where several seem to hold quite similar claims, so anyone could be forgiven for siding with any one of about eight here, though for me, The Gatekeeper ticks more boxes than most and represents some each-way value at 10/1.

A rather consistent sort, the mount of Rossa Ryan certainly knows how to dig deep and come up with a strong performance in a big-field handicap of this nature, that’s for sure. He ran a cracker to finish second (of 20) over a mile (on soft ground) at Glorious Goodwood, before disappointing on a much faster surface at York. That defeat didn’t dent his confidence as he got back to winning ways at Goodwood three weeks ago, again relishing the softer surface.

This really is a horse who loves soft ground, which is not something that they can all say here. Moreover, if we look at his record over a mile on soft ground or worse, we can see that he has one win, two seconds and a fifth (of 22 over course and distance) from five runs. Those figures are hard to ignore and are enough for me to make me get involved.

Best bet – The Gatekeeper (each-way) @ 10/1

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