With only a few days to go until the oldest of the five British Classics gets underway on Town Moor, the betting market is sure to gather momentum.
The extended mile and three quarter trip is sure to stretch the stamina of some of these impeccably bred colts and fillies that will line up come 3.50pm on Saturday afternoon.
14 potential runners stood their ground on to ensure another cracking encounter at the Yorkshire track. John Gosden, who is aiming to take the race for a third time in the last four years, saddles the Gordon Stakes second Excess Knowledge who is sporting the successful colours of Khalid Abdulla. Gosden could also run Feel like Dancing.
Champion Irish handler Aiden O’Brien is set to saddle three runners in the race and will all go into the race with claims. Leading Light is at the top of the market as one of the leading principles, after winning his last four races including the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot over the two mile trip. He stayed on very well under pressure that day but could be under scrutiny from some more talented rivals over the shorter trip at the weekend. I still think he is the horse in the race to beat, and with bookmakers still offering 6/1, it could be a cracking bet to fill your wallets for the showpiece event.
Ballydoyle also saddle Foundry, the runner up of the Great Voltigeur stakes at York last month. He stuck to the task very well late in the day after a lengthy absence from the racecourse and all signs indicate that he is likely to stay the extended trip. The third of the Irish raiders is Eye of the Storm who, on jockey bookings, could be set to line up as the third string.
The multi-million pound Godolphin operation, who were successful in this race last year, when 25/1 shot Encke powered home under the talented Mickael Barzalona, saddle three runners in this year’s renewal. Newly appointed Charlie Appleby is represented by the former Elaine Burke trained Libertarian and Cap O’Rushes, while Saeed Bin Suroor sends Secret Number into the race with a lively outside chance. Libertarian was mightily impressive when winning the Dante Stakes at York. The son of New Approach looked all at sea with the Epsom camber, but William Buick did well to straighten him up in the final couple of furlongs and duly grabbed second in the shadow of the post. The blow out in the Irish Derby may be nothing to worry about and it can almost be assured the Charlie Appleby will have him in tip top shape for the final Classic of the season. It could be a nice bet at around the 8/1 mark for each way punters with payout on three places.
The Ralph Beckett trained Talent is the only filly in this year’s field and the Epsom Oaks winner could maybe improve for the step up to the mile and three quarter trip. Ralph will obviously have done plenty of work at home with this filly after her flop at the Curragh and Champion Jockey Richard Hughes is booked to ride her after partnering the success at the Surrey track.
Another horse that goes in to the race with a live chance is the David Wachman trained colt Galileo Rock, who has seen some money come for him over the weekend. This horse is gifted with plenty of stamina in the breeding line and looked short of a yard of pace when closing into third at Sandown in the classic trial, he is expected to be a powerful horse over the Ledger trip and could be a live danger to the selection at around the 4/1 mark.
Great Hall, Havana Beat, London Bridge and Ralston Road provide other options for punters looking for an outside bet.
St Leger Betting Tips
Leading Light – Win bet (6/1 with Coral)
Libertarian – Each way bet (8/1 with William Hill)
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By Rob Hodson Walker