Spot Plays for Doncaster Sept. 8

September 7th, 2022

Fillies are in the spotlight Thursday on Day 2 of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster. Here are a couple longshots to keep an eye on in the day's two Group offerings.

Race 3: May Hill S. (G2), 9:35 a.m. ET

The odds on favorite Dance in the Grass have shortened considerably to around even-money for this juvenile filly event over one mile, and for understandable reasons. She's beaten two subsequent stakes winners home in a pair of wins at Sandown, including a Group 3 scorer. However, there are a few unexposed types that might step up here at a better price.

One is #8 Novakai (8-1), who won her debut by more than four lengths over this course in mid-July. Most recently, she was one-paced late in the closing stages of the Sweet Solera (G3) at Newmarket over the seven-furlong distance as her debut. Stepping up a furlong here and back to a course we know she likes, Novakai is worth a look.

Race 4: Park Hill S. (G2) 10:10 a.m. ET

Colloquially known as the Fillies' Leger, the Park Hill is open to three-year-olds and up and run over about 1 3/4 miles. An up-and-coming type to watch here is #8 River of Stars (10-1), whose pedigree suggested she was always going to be doing her best over middle distances. And indeed she has this year.

A close second in her season debut at Newbury when stepping up to 1 1/2 miles, River of Stars subsequently won by two lengths over the Lingfield all-weather at the same distance. Last time, in the Chester S. over the Park Hill distance, River of Stars defeated older male rivals by 2 1/4 lengths. Runner-up in that event was Loft, a German-bred U.S. fans might remember for his success this past June in the Belmont Gold Cup (G2).

Group 1 winner Eshaada is the horse to beat in the Park Hill, but River of Stars is the likely value play while getting a 10-pound age allowance from her older rival.