Race of The Day Thursday September 13
15:001m 6f 115y

DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2)


  • Current Favourite  Pilaster
  • Current Odds 7/4
Race Analysis Runners 7 Going Good to soft-soft in places Distance 1m 6f 115y

Race Overview

The Park Hill Stakes is the feature contest on day two of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival. It is open to fillies and mares aged three years or older and is run over the Classic course and distance ahead of Saturday’s main event, earning it the moniker of the Fillies’ St Leger.

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Favourite Pilaster

Winner of the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood last month, Pilaster has improved with each of three runs this season and has yet to taste defeat this term. She represents an in-from trainer in Roger Varian and has the ‘King of Doncaster’ Andrea Atzeni on board for good measure.

Andrew Balding trains Foxtrot Lady

Other Contenders

Andrew Balding’s Horseplay looks a major player after three excellent efforts this season. She won the Lancashire Oaks in July and arguably raised her game again in defeat last month at York. Aidan O’Brien sends across Flattering and Sizzling, with the latter having shown much-improved form in Ireland since a flop in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier in the season. The likes of God Given and Isabel de Urbina have improvement to find while Galmarley could have more to say over this longer trip.

Race Analysis

The combination of Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni commands respect around this track and their contender Pilaster is heading the betting going into the Park Hill Stakes.

The daughter of Nathaniel has improved with each start this season, winning all three, and could still have plenty more to offer.

Her first two successes this term came on artificial surfaces at Chelmsford and Kempton, while last month she made a winning return to the turf when landing the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood with a determined late lunge.

The concern coming here is the prevailing softer ground. That Goodwood win came on good-to-firm but there’s already a hint of soft in the description on Town Moor and the threat of more rain to come. She also has a 3lb penalty for the Goodwood win and, at the prices, is just about opposable as such.

The obvious alternative on proven form is HORSEPLAY for trainer Andrew Balding.

The daughter of Cape Cross has improved this season in no uncertain terms and has the form to go very close in this, in spite of the fact that she concedes weight to all of her six rivals as a Group 2 winner.

She began the season with an excellent second behind Coronet – a strong benchmark – in the Middleton Stakes at York and backed that up by winning the Lancashire Oaks from God Given in July.

Since then she has run a pleasing race in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks behind the potentially exceptional Sea Of Class (and Coronet once more) and there is real substance to her form this term.

She has won on soft going in the past so conditions shouldn’t hold any fears now and in Oisin Murphy she has the man with the Midas touch right now in the saddle. Riding with supreme confidence, Murphy could be about to supplement his excellent recent tally of big-race wins.

Also very much expected to be in the mix here God Given, winner of Group 3 Pinnacle at Haydock in June and edged out in the Lancashire Oaks by the aforementioned Horseplay next time at Haydock. Luca Cumani’s filly has since run another fine face in France and should be firmly in the mix now, with the terms likely to see her closing ranks on Pilaster from their Goodwood meeting last month.

Two of the seven make the trip over from Ballydoyle in Ireland looking to give Aidan O’Brien an overdue first Park Hill success.

Flattering is held by some of these rivals on form this summer but Sizzling could be a major player.

Ryan Moore rides and she has been improving lately. She dead-heated over the 1m6f at Leopardstown in the Vinnie Roe Stakes in July and has since run out a convincing winner of a Group 3 against her own sex at Cork.

This is her toughest test to date and one minor concern is that she has had a very busy summer (this will be her twelfth start since April). Still, with the midsummer blight that hung over Ballydoyle now long-since banished, it wouldn’t pay to underestimate her.

Ralph Beckett has sent out the previous two winners of this race, Simple Verse and Alyssa, but his contender Isabel De Urbina has work on, it seems. She was a fair fifth to Pilaster in the Lille Langtry at Goodwood and needs the cheekpieces to bring about some improvement now.

Also sporting first-time cheekpieces will be Galmarley, Lucy Wadham’s Sir Percy filly, who completes the field. She’s tackling this stamina-searching trip for the first time and is charged with finding considerable improvement in order to get involved in the scrap up the Town Moor straight.

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Betting.net Selection

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Betting.net Danger

God Given

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Written by Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is an Irish-based racing writer with an increasing portfolio of work on British and Irish racing. His daily routine is race-by-race form analysis, both on the Flat and over jumps. While the racing world must keep on turning, he is quite sure that no horse will ever pull at his heartstrings quite as much as the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Denman.