September is a big month on the flat calendar in the UK and Ireland as not only does it bring up the final British Classic of 2017, there is a whole host of Group One races for the older horses to compete in at the back end of their campaign before their winter break.
Here is a look at the best tips for the month in the leading four races which will hopefully prove profitable.
It is amazing to think that going into the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Winter was Aidan O’Brien’s second string filly as Ryan Moore opted to ride Rhododendron in the opening Classic of the year for fillies. Since then though, the Ballydoyle runner has proven to be an exceptional miler as she has won four Group One races.
The toughest test of Winter’s career is set to come in the Irish Champion Stakes where she can be backed at 7/2 to score in September. O’Brien’s runner is bred to stay the extra distance and proved that 1m2f was no problem for her in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on testing ground.
Her run on Irish Champions Day will see her tackle the opposite sex for the first time and that could include a clash with stablemate Churchill who was successful in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. French Derby winner Brametot has an entry at Leopardstown, while 2016 Champion Stakes winner Almanzor may make a return for his first run as a four-year-old.
Despite her age, Winter looks a very professional filly and can prove how good she is in the Irish Champions Stakes in what may be one of her final runs of her campaign if she is retired at the end the year.
Brando proved he is still a leading player in the sprint division with success in the Group One LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest on his latest run at Deauville in France. Kevin Ryan’s runner was patiently ridden in midfield in the early stages by jockey Tom Eaves but was driven out inside the final furlong to get up late on ahead of Aclaim and Tupi respectively.
Ryan’s sprinter has been consistent throughout his career and now has two victories to his name in 2017 as he also won on his opening start in the Group Three Abernant Stakes. The five-year-old ran a huge race in the July Cup at Newmarket where he came home third after going off at 28/1.
Sprinters are worth following when they are in form therefore at 5/1 in the betting, she looks excellent value to overcome the three-year-old Harry Angel at Haydock which would bring up her eighth victory of her career.
Harry Angel is clearly the leading threat to Brando. Clive Cox’s runner won the July Cup in a his career's best performance where he denied Limato and Caravaggio the Group One race. The son of Dark Angel has already been beaten twice this season though so his odds look too short now at 5/4.
Blue Point is another three-year -ld that has to be respected. The Godolphin-owned colt won the Group Three Pavilion Stakes at Ascot earlier in the campaign, while he was third behind Caravaggio and Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting. Charlie Appleby’s runner is a much more attractive price than Harry Angel at 9/1 in the betting.
Order of St George was unable to run in the Goodwood Cup earlier this month as his trainer O’Brien felt he needed a rest. The Irish horse failed to retain his title in the Ascot Gold Cup on his previous start where he had to settle for second place behind Big Orange. With his usual pilot Ryan Moore on board, the former winner was held up at the Royal Meeting but his run was left too late as he was unable to reel in Big Orange who held on gamely in the closing 150 yards of the 2m4f race.
The break the five-year-old has received should help him return to action in the Irish St Leger in great shape. He won this Group One contest back in 2015 when he ran as a three-year-old and he can become the first horse since Vinnie Roe to prevail in this race more than once.
Irish Champion Trainer O’Brien is bidding for his fourth success in the Irish St Leger. He scored for the first time in 2007 with Yeats who made history in the Ascot Gold Cup by winning the long-distance race a record fourth time. Twelve months later Septimus prevailed at the Curragh in the 1m6f contest.
Order of St George should renew his rivalry with Big Orange in Ireland as the first two in the Ascot Gold Cup both have entries in the race. Michael Bell’s runner was unable to seal the long-distance summer double as he finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup. With different riding tactics, Order of St George will not allow the British horse to have a soft lead when they meet again and that should help the former champion retain his crown in the Irish St Leger.
Three-year-old Stradivarius established himself as a leading St Leger contender earlier this month when he won the Group One Goodwood Cup run over 2m at the Sussex-course. Gosden’s runner travelled smoothly throughout the Glorious Goodwood contest and hit the front at the one furlong pole where he stayed on strongly.
The son of Sea The Stars did not run in any of the previous Classics in 2017. Instead, Gosden opted for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot for his horse which he won by a neck ahead of Count Octave. At Goodwood he had the task of taking on the Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange and despite his age, he was able to get the better of the experienced distance runner.
At 5/1 in the betting for the final British Classic of the year, Stradivarius is a good bet to give Gosden his fifth winner in the Doncaster race. His first success was in 1996 with Shantou, while his most recent winner was in 2011 when Masked Marvel came out on top.
O’Brien’s leading chance in the St Leger this year appears to be with Capri who is the 3/1 favourite. The Ballydoyle horse was the surprise winner of the Irish Derby back in July. His breeding suggests he will get better for a step-up in trip so he has to be respected.
Crystal Ocean also stood out as a St Leger contender when he won the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He ran on really strongly in the closing stages of the 1m4f race so is likely to have no problems with the trip at Doncaster.
Winter to win the Irish Champion Stakes
Brando to win the Sprint Cup
Order of St George to win the Irish St Leger
Stradivarius to win the St Leger