Ladbrokes St Leger preview

THERE are three Group One races on Saturday. In years gone by the St Leger would have knocked spots off anything else. The undoubted highlight. But this year’s race is in danger of being comprehensively overshadowed by the Irish Champion Stakes with Golden Horn and possibly Gleneagles lining up (unless, of course, the Ballydoyle “lads” spot a bit of moisture in the ground). The days of the Triple Crown being the Holy Grail for three-year-olds seem to be long gone. There are other riches to target and a dearth of interest in breeding middle-distance champions.

St Leger day used to feel special with an air of drama. Remember Oh So Sharp, Dunfermline, Commanche Run? Alas, no more. There will be a maximum field of just eight following yesterday’s confirmation stage. One possibility for the paucity of the turnout is the proximity of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 4. Three weeks isn’t enough time for a thoroughbred to recover from the grind of a 1m 6f St Leger and be expected to cut a dash at Longchamp. Maybe the Leger should be a bit earlier or the Arc a bit later? What we’re left with is a race that is sadly losing its lustre.

However, the presence of one horse at least guarantees my interest. I love STORM THE STARS. I love his guts, his courage and his willingness to give 100%. I was delighted when he kept the Great Voltigeur. He may have been a bit lucky to keep the race but if any horse deserved a break it’s this fellow following his placings in the Epsom and Irish derbies.

I think he’ll win on Saturday and confirm form with his York adversary Bondi Beach. If it becomes a battle then you’d want to be in the camp of Storm The Stars.

Order of St George is coming to the boil at the right time and heads the St Leger betting. But he has already been beaten by Bondi Beach and I couldn’t have him at the price. If there are eight runners then Vengeur Masque might be worth an each-way tinkle as he looks the only real unexposed horse in the race.

With a warm week forecast, surely there will be no excuses for Gleneagles not lining up on Saturday. The ground should be quick enough which means shock Juddmonte winner Arabian Queen is unlikely to line up. Free Eagle and The Grey Gatsby add more quality to the race but I will be gutted and surprised if Golden Horn fails to get back to winning ways before his swansong in the Arc.

And I will be thrilled if Amazing Maria can win another Group One in the Matron Stakes for the remarkable David O’Meara. She may have to overcome Legatissimo but she could find her out over a mile.

2 thoughts on “Ladbrokes St Leger preview”

  1. Graham Oliver says:

    Hi Jason,

    It’s hard to disagree with any of your points about the weekend’s major races.

    In the St Leger it would not be a major shock whatever the result. I agree with your comments about Storm The Stars, but I just had that feeling that Bondi Beach was slightly unlucky at York. He was inconvenienced by Storm The Stars when he was bumped and carried left by the winner inside the last furlong. In either France or the USA Bondi Beach would have been awarded the race by the stewards. He is still relatively unexposed, and I take him to triumph on Saturday.

    The first race on Saturday’s card, the Champagne Stakes, has always been one of my favourite 2yo races of the season. It’s now somewhat overshadowed by the Group One National Stakes, which is run over the same trip at the Curragh the following day. I’m not sure who is going to be in the final lineup at Doncaster, but if he runs, Emotionless will be a warm order,
    and I hope to see him win easily.

    On Friday Sir Mark Prescott may enjoy a double with William Of Orange in the Cup, and his very fast juvenile filly Alinstante in the May Hill.

    Some great racing at Doncaster this week, not least of which will be the Legends race at 3.35 on the opening day. I offer no selection advice, but a good race looks in prospect. I suppose a ‘photo finish between Murtagh and McCoy would be a terrific result, and even better if Luke Harvey swooped late to deny both of them. Great fun!

    Just to say a week or so ago I mentioned an impressive French 2yo called Antonoe, who bolted up by six and a half lengths in a well contested newcomers race. The second and third have won since, and Antonoe won again easily this afternoon. She is being talked about as the pro-tem best 2yo in Europe. Maybe that estimate will be revised after the weekend. We shall see.


    1. Gary Lewsley says:

      Great article again, never felt the need to comment that before but I too think its sad that the Leger is being overshadowed. They definitely need to look at the scheduling and come up with a best fit. I have done a preview on my site for the race and just feel Order of St George will take the spoils. Interesting comment from Graham above also. The festival at Doncaster is a really good standard, its a real shame people don’t line it up with the Derby Festival and Royal Ascot. It would be good if Ladbrokes promoted it better instead of solitary focus.

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