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Horse Racing: Septimus Cup victory rated season's top staying display.

Byline: By David Lawrence

SEPTIMUS earned the highest Racing Post Rating registered by any stayer this season when winning Friday's Doncaster Cup.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained four-year-old was awarded an RPR of 125 for beating Geordieland by five lengths, a figure superior to both the mark achieved by Lucarno in taking Saturday's St Leger at Doncaster (121) and the rating given to Yeats following his victory in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on the same day (122).

Paul Curtis, the Racing Post's senior handicapper, said yesterday:

"I think Septimus's Doncaster Cup win deserves to be rated the best staying performance of this season, but I would hesitate to call him the best stayer, because Yeats still has an RPR of 126 on file from his victory in last season's Goodwood Cup and, on that basis, there can't be a lot between them."

Curtis added: "The Doncaster Cup form stacks up really well, with the runner-up Geordieland only marginally below his best and third-placed Allegretto improving slightly, as you might expect for a filly with a generally progressive profile.

"Neither the St Leger nor the Irish equivalent can be regarded as quite so straightforward in form terms, with a horse close up in each race tending to hold the ratings down.

"In the case of the Doncaster race, that horse is Celestial Halo, who has finished seventh, beaten only about three lengths, and he was second in a handicap at York from an official rating of 94 on his previous outing."

Curtis added: "Celestial Halo looks as if he's improving and his connections have always rated him a good horse, but, with him not being beaten too far and the first eight in the Leger covered by less than five lengths, I wouldn't want torate Lucarno's performance higher than 121.

"The time for the race was good, which is obviously encouraging, but the surface has been relaid at Doncaster and the Park Hill Stakes was also run in what looked a very quick time, so it may pay to be cautious on that score."

Of the Irish St Leger, Curtis added: "Macorville is what you might call the problem horse at the Curragh, because, although he too is progressing, you wouldn't really have expected him to finish as close as fourth, beaten just over six lengths, in a Group 1 event.

"It is therefore quite a tricky event to rate, but I've taken the view that second-placed Scorpion has run a couple of pounds below his best and that Yeats has beaten him despite not quite having the race run to suit him.

"I've given Yeats an RPR of 122, which is the same as he had earned for his last two races before the Irish Leger, but still 4lb lower than the figure he got when winning the Goodwood Cup very impressively under a penalty last season."

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Septimus: given an RPR of 125 for Doncaster Cup win
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 17, 2007
Words:490
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