Presenting pursues new money

A fresh sponsor rides to the rescue of the oldest Classic. Greg Wood reports
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The Independent Online
Any punters standing in a pile of losing slips this evening and wondering where their luck has gone should be aware that Doncaster seems to have cornered the market in good fortune. Just days after discovering that Teleconnection, the St Leger sponsor, had stopped answering the phone, the course has found a new supporter for the oldest Classic.

The Pertemps Group of Companies will back the race for the next four years, though thankfully it will be called simply the Pertemps St Leger. They have certainly chosen an excellent moment to step in, since trials for the Classic, in particular at Newbury today and at York on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be much in evidence in the coming weeks.

Presenting could well start favourite for the Leger if he comes through his assignment in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes this afternoon, but the fact that this Group Two event is open to older horses does not make his task any easier.

Presenting's two opponents from his own generation, Don Corleone and Royal Circle, also hold Leger entries, but neither looks likely to pose a significant threat.

Not so Burooj and Midnight Legend, though, and the former in particular should test Presenting's Leger claims. Much of his career has been spent in handicaps, but Burooj is as forceful and resolute as they come. Doncaster's long straight requires strength of character as well as ability, and while Presenting (3.30) should come through today, it is not something to bet on.

Top Cat (next best 2.30) may be a smarter investment, even though she has not seen a track since finishing a respectable ninth in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot. She looked very useful during a busy early-season campaign, and if the rest has revived her, she should see off an uninspiring field in the St Hugh's Stakes.

Lipizzaner (2.00) and MASTER OF PASSION (nap 3.00) may also go close, while the Yattendon Maiden Stakes (4.05) should, as ever, reward close study.

Ladbrokes may not be opening their shops tomorrow, but there is more than enough racing both in Britain and abroad to keep punters interested. The quantity is domestic, at Kempton and Pontefract, while the quality is at Deauville and Leopardstown, which will stage the Prix Jacques le Marois and Heinz '57 Phoenix Stakes respectively.

Sayyedati, who won the Sussex Stakes at the third attempt last month, will once again be partnered by Brett Doyle, who has yet to ride in France, far less actually win a race. Yet, as Clive Brittain, her trainer, points out: "Deauville is a straight course. It's easier to ride than Goodwood and he coped very well there.''

A bigger problem may be the high quality of Sayyedati's opponents, who include Nicolotte, the Godolphin-owned Tamayaz, and Carling, Smolensk and Green Tune to represent the home side. Brittain's filly won this race two years ago, though, and was caught on the line 12 months ago. She should make it two out of three tomorrow.

In the Heinz '57 at Leopardstown, British stables are well represented by Barry Hills' April The Eighth and Peter Chapple-Hyam's Woodborough, but Aidan O'Brien, who may soon be the dominant force on the Irish turf, can repel the invaders from across the Irish Sea with his charge, Ribot's Secret.

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