St Leger Festival: Doyle full of optimism as Hidden Gold seeks opening win

JOCKEY James Doyle believes Hidden Gold is the one they all have to beat in the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster today.

Although yet to get her head in front in four starts so far this term, the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained four-year-old has performed with credit on each occasion, most recently finishing third in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

With a step back to a mile-and-three-quarters not expected to pose any problems, Doyle is confident she can be in the shake-up at the end of this Group Two contest.

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“She ran an absolute screamer at Glorious Goodwood and she looks like she may have bumped into one with the winner (Simple Verse) going for the St Leger. She stayed on strongly and hit the line well,” said Doyle, who won yesterday’s Town Moor finale aboard Elhaame for bin Suroor.

“When we stepped her up at York she ran another great race in defeat. I don’t think the drop back in trip at Doncaster will be a problem to her. On ratings she comes out on top and while there might be two or three dangers in a field like that, she is the one they have to beat.”

Connections of the Mark Johnston-trained Vive Ma Fille are hoping a quicker surface can see her return to the level of form that saw her finish fifth in the Goodwood Cup. The Middleham trainer’s son Charlie said: “Going into this race she should have a very good chance on her runs at Royal Ascot and in the Goodwood Cup.”

Dual Group One-winning stayer Tac De Boistron, related to doughty Yorkshire chaser De Boitron, has been retired.

The eight-year-old won the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in both 2013 and 2014, but has not recovered from running on unsuitably fast ground in the Ascot Gold Cup.