Ante-post preview of the Ladbrokes St. Leger at Doncaster on Saturday 13th September.
The final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St. Leger, is run over 1m6f at Doncaster. A difficult race to assess for punters as many of the runners are unproven at the trip, unexposed, and bring together considerable corresponding form.
The favourite, who has been at the head of affairs since his performance in the Derby, is Kingston Hill (3/1 bet365). Roger Varian’s son of Mastercraftsman was disappointingly withdrawn from the Great Voltigeur most recently due to the fast ground and connections will be hoping that there is a good deal of rainfall before race day. Officially rated 120, his efforts behind Australia in this year’s Derby clearly make him the class act in this field and he also boasts a course win to his name when he claimed the Racing Post Trophy last year.
The Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood was an intriguing race for those with a keen eye for the St Leger. Won by Snow Sky (6/1 Ladbrokes), Michael Stoute’s son of Nayef managed to prevail by a neck beating the ultra consistent Windshear after being rather coltish in the prelims and idling once edging to the front. He then went on to finish runner-up in the Great Voltigeur at York’s Ebor Festival behind the smart Postponed. While he was outclassed he pulled 10 lengths clear of the rest and for many that enhanced his claims. Snow Sky certainly warrants respect but his racing style may not aide his chances on Town Moor.
Richard Hannon’s WINDSHEAR (9/1 Betfred) really caught the eye staying on in the Gordon Stakes coming off a slow early pace to end up never nearer than at the finish. This horse is a half brother to a 2 mile stayer and can realistically turn the form around with Snow Sky when presented with a thorough stamina test. His Bahrain Trophy form against Hartnell (14/1 Ladbrokes) also illustrated his staying prowess as he appeared outpaced turning for home but passed everything except the winner who was given an enterprising ride from the front by Joe Fanning. Hartnell may well struggle to get an easy lead on this occasion but he seems a tough likeable sort nonetheless and may have place claims.
Of the others, John Gosden is well represented and thanks to his record in the race each of his entrants has to be respect. Recent Goodwood winner over a mile and six, Forever Now (16/1 Coral) finished in third in the Bahrain Trophy after struggling to find much under pressure at the close. This colt has been a slow learner and immature at home, so perhaps his recent efforts can be upgraded. Romsdal (7/1 Betfred) finished third in the Derby but looks to have a lot to prove back on the track. He seemed outclassed and found nothing turning for home in the King George at Ascot and a repeat of that performance will see him struggle here.
This year’s renewal of the St Leger looks to be a trappy affair but punters shouldn't shy away from backing horses with seemingly imperfect credentials. Forever Now looks to be a progressive sort and it will be interesting to see who William Buick chooses to ride between him and Romsdal. Kingston hill towers above the rest on ratings but WINDSHEAR looks a plausible each way alternative. Whilst he has struggled to get his head in front, the manner in which he has stayed on in his races suggests a mile and six will be ideal and he looks good value to claim Britain’s oldest Classic.
WINDSHEAR (E/W) (9/1 Betfred)
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