Nobody will be complaining, with Camelot promising such a momentous climax, but nor can you pretend that the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting opens with much hint of the gathering crescendo. With its best supporting races nowadays held back for Saturday, terrestrial coverage from Doncaster is delayed until tomorrow and the horses competing over Town Moor today will interest only the aficionado. The jockeys, however, are another matter.
As a rule, admittedly, races such as the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes cling precariously to their novelty status. Mediocre horses and deteriorating physiques sometimes do little for the dignity of riders cherished for the deeds of their prime. The return of last year's winning jockey, however, reiterates not just her own unique status on the Turf, but also the merit of the cause that animates her.
At 4ft 10in, Julie Krone remains a diminutive giant of sport. The most successful female jockey of all time retired in 2004 as winner of 3,700 races in the United States – including the 1993 Belmont Stakes, the first Triple Crown race to be won by a woman. Last year she brushed away the cobwebs, not to mention various retired males with centuries of collective experience over straight turf courses, to win this race on Invincible Hero.
Once again Krone appears to have drawn an eligible mount, albeit this time she will also have Michael Kinane to deal with. But her main priority is to raise funds for an injured jockeys' refuge built by the former trainer, Jack Berry.
Curiosities on four legs today, meanwhile, include two former Nunthorpe winners, meeting at merely Listed level in the Scarbrough Stakes. Sole Power drops in grade after two Group One podiums this year, while Kingsgate Native – whose chequered career includes a failed stint at stud – has made another change of stable seeking rejuvenation.
Robert Cowell has an excellent record with sprinters, but is vexed that Kingsgate Native came up with a high temperature when primed for the latest running of the Nunthorpe, at York last month. Even so, Cowell has seen enough to testify that his new charge retains plenty of ability.
Though he plies his trade at a much lower level than Listed, Dvinsky earns due distinction in the opener at Kempton tonight when his 217th career start, at the age of 11, puts him level with Sharp Hat (retired in 2007) as the busiest British racehorse of the modern era. They've even named the £2,264 race after him.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Silver Lace (8.45 Kempton) In good hands and up just 3lb for her first win round here last time. That form has worked out very well, and her strong finish promises better again over this extra furlong.
Strictly Silver (4.45 Doncaster) Keeps inching up the weights, after looking better than his rating in consecutive starts, but his very progressive profile suggests he can surpass his new mark.
One to watch
Stencive (William Haggas) Has long been well regarded and is really thriving now, only going down by a neck in a hot handicap at Ascot last weekend despite meeting traffic.
Where the money's going
Meandre is 14-1 from 16-1 with William Hill for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.Reuse content