St. Leger Preview

St Leger

ST. LEGER PREVIEW

The St. Leger, the oldest and final classic of the season takes place this Saturday. The declarations have been announced, and there is a favourite at the top of the betting.

Yesterday, John Gosden announced that Lah Ti Dar will take her place in Saturday’s feature and replaced Aiden O’Brien’s Kew Gardens as the market leader.

The unbeaten filly won at Newbury and Newmarket earlier in the year, and returned after an injury setback with an emphatic 10-length success at York’s Ebor festival last month.

Kew Gardens, who won the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris in July, leads a five-strong force from Ireland and Aiden O’Brien’s yard – with Southern France, The Pentagon, Nelson and Zabriskie the others.

So, who are the contenders for the St Leger on Saturday?

DEE EX BEE - 12/1

Second to Masar in the Derby back in June, before disappointing in the Irish equivalent. Easily beaten at Goodwood last time out by Cross Counter, and may find this step up difficult. Neither trainer or jockey have won this race and there are better horses in the race.

KEW GARDENS - 5/4

Has all the attributes to be a St Leger winner. Third to market rival Old Persian in the Great Voltigeur at York and the step back up in distance will suit. Trainer has won this twice in the last five years. Won the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot in good style beaten stablemates Southern France and Nelson.

Kew Gardens

LOXLEY - 7/1

Good winner of the Lucien Barrier Grand Prix de Deauville a few weeks back. Looked to be finding more as he crossed the line so the distance will suit on Saturday. Was second in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in July (1m5f) and is a rapid improver.

NELSON - 33/1

Closely related to 1m2f and 1m4f winner/Derby second US Army Ranger. Dam won the Irish Oaks, but nothing to suggest he will handle the step up in trip. Front runner, will surely pace set for stable companion Kew Gardens as O’Brien looks to dictate things.

OLD PERSIAN - 6/1

Been in good form this season, with wins in the Voltigeur and the King Edward VII stakes. Put a line through the Irish Derby, and he’s a good candidate for the St Leger having won a good trial at York for it. Strong stayer, beautifully bred and he is going the right way. One of two Godolphin horses entered.

Old Persian

PROSCHEMA - 50/1

Outsider of the field, finished third in most recent start behind Ghostwatch in the Melrose Handicap at York. The form has not really worked out since then with the latter beaten convincingly at Ascot last week. Outsider, but worth a crack for a trainer looking for his first win in the race.

RAYMOND TUSK - 14/1

Good sixth behind Roaring Lion in the eclipse in the summer, yet that is the only time he has ever finished outside the top two. Beaten 2 ½ lengths by the-now Melbourne Cup favourite Hamada at Newbury last month. Has not done anything wrong all season, and is an ideal St Leger type with the trip, and long, galloping track no problem. Doncaster king Andrea Atzeni rides for the first time.

SOUTHERN FRANCE - 10/1

Another O’Brien runner, second to Kew Garden in the Queens Vase. Also, finished just over two lengths behind the Irish St Leger favourite Flag of Honour last time out, in a St Leger trial. Was keeping on at the closing stages and will relish this distance.

THE PENTAGON - 20/1

Half-brother to Vadamar who won over the St Leger distance in a Group 2. Looks to have his work cut out. Another who will lead from the front and will look to dictate things for Ballydoyle. One time Derby favourite.

ZABRISKIE - 66/1

O’Brien’s fifth string, who is surely out of his depth in this race. Nothing to suggest this distance will suit from either the dam or sire’s side. Draw a line through.

LAH TI DAR - 9/2

What a great race we now have in prospect with John Gosden’s unbeaten 3yo now serving it up to Kew Gardens at the top of the market. Cut from 11/2 to 7/2 and below after being declared, she will be the one to beat. As mentioned, she won by ten lengths at York last month as was going further and further clear as she crossed the line. Gosden is seeking a fifth success in the world’s oldest classic, and has a great chance here.

Lah Ti Dah

MAID UP - 16/1

Winner of the Group 3 March Stakes at Goodwood last month, Maid Up was supplemented for Saturday's showpiece at a cost of £50,000. The Andrew Balding-trained filly did hold an entry in today’s Park Hill Stakes, but connections believe she is a horse with huge ability and potential and have decided to have a crack at the main race on Saturday. Currently a 16-1 shot, her only defeat in her last five starts was when she was beaten a short head by the impressive Pilaster in the Lillie Langtry Stakes - and she could prove to be good value for a place. 

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