The St Leger: Ante-Post Preview
The 5th and final Classic of the flat-racing season is actually Britain’s oldest classic, and it is run over 14-furlongs at Doncaster (Saturday 12th September, this year). In the last decade it has been dominated mainly by 3 stables with John Goden winning it 3 times, Aiden O’Brien winning it twice, and Godolphin also notching two winners. The resurgent Frankie Dettori has ridden 3 of the last 10 winners, whilst William Buick has ridden 2.
Here’s our analysis of all the leading protagonists and our ante-post advice.
Order of St George 3/1
This rapidly improving son of Galileo is trained by Aiden O’Brien and, having being beaten a neck by stablemate Bondi Beach in the Curragh Cup, he has stepped-up again on his last 2 starts, looking extremely impressive in beating Sea Moon by over 7 lengths. O’Brien has stated he prefers fast ground – and the likely favourite should he get it.
Storm The Stars 4/1
The Derby 3rd seemingly goes on any ground and, having just held off Bondi Beach at the Ebor meeting, he certainly deserves his position at the head of the market. Had plenty of runs this season though and, perhaps, hasn’t got as much room for improvement as the favourite or Bondi Beach. William Haggas has an excellent record with his classic runners though.
Bondi Beach 5/1
Form ties in closely with both Order of St George and Storm The Stars, and looks sure to improve for the 14-furlongs and a stronger pace when 2nd at York behind Storm the Stars.
Mr Singh 7/1
John Gosden looks to have laid him out for the St Leger and, having had just 5 runs, he could have any amount of improvement to come. Looks sure to relish the extra emphasis on stamina, and the likely ride of Frankie Dettori. Something to find on form though.
Fields of Athenry 10/1
Another possible for the O’Brien stable but, having been well-touted for this, his 5th in the Ebor didn’t rubber-stamp that he has the required class or stamina, though was poorly drawn. Interesting to see if the money comes for him with supposedly better fancied stablemates.
Giovanni Canaletto 16/1
The Derby 4th, one place behind Storm The Stars, is now only the 4th best of the O’Brien possibles. Looked to have taken a step backwards recently, and may not see the best of him until next year.
French runner who represents Qatar Racing, and likely to be ridden by last year’s winning jockey Andrea Atzeni. Won a 3 runner group 2 before running poorly in the French Derby. Was sent off at only 8/1 that day – so obviously thought capable of better. A real dark horse!
Another O’Brien inmate with potential to improve after just 4 runs. Would have to though after finishing 3rd in a York handicap off a mark of 99.
Ralph Beckett’s filly has won 3 of her last 4 but has plenty to find on official ratings.
Storm The Stars looks a solid marker but, having run a lot of races this season, he looks vulnerable to a potential improver. Aiden O’Brien has plenty of them but, as even the stable seem unclear as to whom is there number one candidate, it looks worth taking a chance on Mr Singh. His trainer John Gosden looks to have had this race as his number one priority, and likely jockey Frankie Dettori knows what it takes to win this race.