The final classic of the season is today upon us with 12 high class 3 year olds tackling a shade over a mile & three-quarters at Doncaster in the St Leger. The race has been eagerly anticipated and deserves a full preview. We’ve gone through the race from top to bottom and have come up with two picks.
Only 3 of the last 10 favourites have landed the spoils &, in that time, we’ve seen winners at tasty prices of 25/1, 22/1, 14/1 & 12/1. Aiden O’Brien has saddled 5 of the last 6 favourites but has only won 2 of those runnings, his only winners in that race.
This years’ field has 2 at the head of affairs, battling for favouritism. Lah Di Tar is from John Gosden’s yard & is unbeaten in her 3 career starts. She’s won all 3 at a canter including Listed races on her last 2 starts. She definitely has the potential to be a superstar & Frankie Dettori is convinced this extra mileage will suit.
Kew Gardens is the O’Brien horse that looks to be the main danger. He was only 9th in the Derby but has since won the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot over this trip. He did that convincingly before following up in the Group 1 Grand Prix Du Paris with Dee Ex Bee in behind. However, I was little disappointed with his last run where he was only 3rd to Old Persian here.
Old Persian & Loxley are the next 2 in the betting & both come from the powerful yard of Charlie Appleby. The latter has the most potential but I’m worried about the trip whilst the former has had a busy season & may just fall short of this standard, like his Irish Derby run.
Epsom Derby 2nd Dee Ex Bee is a big price if you take that form literally. He looked the one for the Leger out of that race, staying on stoutly & looking in need of a step up in trip. It is interesting, therefore, that he’s stuck to a mile & a half in 3 subsequent runs where he’s never quite matched his Derby form. He ran a poor race in the Irish Derby when the race wasn’t run to suit; he was held up in a race that never really tested stamina. On from that was his 3rd to Kew Gardens when again he responded to pressure but needed further & that was backed up last time out at Glorious Goodwood. One other consideration is that firmish ground hasn’t suited on at least 2 of those occasions so back on easier ground with this longer distance expected to be ideal, the double figure quotes look way too big. For insurance, however, I’ll be backing him without Lah Di Tar.
At even longer odds, Raymond Tusk has a squeak. Unraced as a 2 year old, he’s won 2 of his 5 career starts & whilst this is a massive step up, I couldn’t discount his chances with confidence. He won a Newbury maiden on easyish ground by almost 5 lengths on his debut before finishing 2nd to one of today’s fancied rivals Loxley at Newmarket over 10 furlongs. I wasn’t convinced by the quicker going & he was tapped for toe over an inadequate trip. The Eclipse was a step too far at that stage in his career, admittedly, but he then a Listed race at Hamilton winning in taking style. Stepped up in trip in the Geoffrey Freer, he finished 2nd to Hamada but was hampered a furlong out & stayed on again inside the final furlong to snatch 2nd. That was against older horses. With a clear run on this easier ground & over a trip he’ll relish, I expect he’ll run a massive race with improvement still very likely. For insurance, I’ll be taking out the 2 market leaders.
PLACED – Back Dee Ex Bee (e/w) in the “without Lah Di Tar” market for a 2/10 stake at 11.00 Bet365 (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back Raymond Tusk (e/w) in the “without Lah Di Tar & Kew Gardens” market for a 1.5/10 stake at 10.00 Betfair (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back it here: