Sumo Sam is set to face nine rivals when she bids to supplement her runaway success at Goodwood last month in the Betfred Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster on Thursday.
The one-mile-six-furlong contest is one of two Group Two prizes up for grabs on the opening afternoon of the St Leger Festival and a competitive renewal looks in store.
The Paul and Oliver Cole-trained Sumo Sam appeared to relish the testing conditions when pulling eight and a half lengths clear of her rivals in the Lillie Langtry Stakes in early August and any rain that falls on Town Moor will aid her cause as she looks to follow up.
Ching Shih is a leading contender for David Simcock after chasing home St Leger candidate Arrest in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury almost four weeks ago, while Night Sparkle has her sights raised by Andrew Balding having won her last four races for Michael O’Callaghan before changing hands.
William Haggas has declared both Golden Lyra and Crack Of Light, John and Thady Gosden also fire two bullets in One Evening and Lmay and Irish hopes are carried by Aidan O’Brien’s Boogie Woogie and Joseph O’Brien’s Shamwari.
Divine Jewel from Roger Varian’s yard completes the line-up.
Nine juvenile fillies are in the mix for the preceding Betfred May Hill Stakes, with Darnation the likely favourite for trainer Karl Burke.
A promising third on her Haydock introduction, the daughter of Too Darn Hot won by 10 lengths on her second start at Thirsk before successfully stepping up in class in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood.
With Burke fresh from a big-race double at the Irish Champions Festival last weekend and Darnation proven on rain-softened ground, she is bound to be popular with punters.
Romanova represents Ollie Sangster and William Buick following a facile Salisbury success, while Prestige Stakes third Hard To Resist (Haggas) will represent the King and Queen.
Hala Abrar (Gay Kelleway), Meribella (Ralph Beckett) and See The Fire (Balding) all won on their respective debuts and are immediately stepped up in grade.
Francophone (Charlie Johnston), Les Bleus (Richard Hughes) and Zenjabeela (Varian) are the other hopefuls.
The most valuable race on the card is the Weatherbys Scientific £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes, in which Clive Cox’s Dragon Leader puts his unbeaten record on the line following an impressive display in a similarly lucrative sales race at York.
Aidan O’Brien’s Gimcrack runner-up Johannes Brahms looks his biggest threat.