- Date: Saturday September 16 – 16.35 BST
- Location: Doncaster Racecourse, United Kingdom
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Arrest’s odds shorten as Gregory and Continuous gear up for rematch at Doncaster
Arrest’s chances of winning the St Leger have increased over the past couple of days after recent weather meant that the going will be soft at Doncaster on Saturday. The change in going led to Frankie Dettori switching from ante-post favourite Gregory to Arrest. The 52-year-old is due to retire so this looks like it will be his final British Classic.
Much of the St Leger talk this year has been about how Gregory and Continuous are gearing up for a rematch in the St Leger after their previous clash at York’s Ebor Festival, where Continuous emerged victorious leaving Gregory in third place. However, the news that Gregory’s stablemate Arrest is to be ridden by Dettori, and that the ground conditions are going to be soft, has seen his odds shorten considerably from Thursday.
Arrest’s big win in the Chester Vase came on soft ground and led to him starting as favourite for the Derby, although quick ground on that occasion was seen as his undoing. However, should there be some give in the Doncaster track on Saturday, he could take some stopping. Especially with Dettori onboard. This appears to be the opinion of the bookies, with Arrest’s odds tumbling down to leave him as favourite at the time of writing.
Gregory demonstrated his potential as a top-class young stayer by winning the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, securing his third consecutive victory. However, his tactics backfired at York when he attempted to lead from the start, ultimately playing into Continuous’s hands. While Continuous took the win, Gregory ended up third. Gregory’s team is likely to adopt a more patient approach in the upcoming race, and the longer St Leger distance should work in his favour. Continuous is trained by Aidan O’Brien who, with six previous wins, has the best record of the trainers on show. O’Brien has no fewer than four entries at the time of writing.
While Arrest, Gregory and Continuous are the frontrunners, Glorious Goodwood winner Desert Hero, owned by the King and Queen, is another horse that could be in the mix.
St Leger Stakes 2023: The Leading Contenders
Narrowly beaten jn the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on his final juvenile start, Arrest returned to action with a six-and-a-half-length win in the Chester Vase, defeating Adelaide River, who went on to finish second in the Irish Derby.
Arrest failed to hit those heights in the Derby, and the King Edward VII Stakes, but returned to form to take the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury. Ground with a bit of give has seen Arrest give his best performances, so the recent rain could increase his chances.
Arrest is now set to be ridden by Dettori,and the Italian, in the final season of his distinguished career, could make him the horse to beat here.
Coming from the celebrated stable of Aiden O’Brien, Continuous has shown great improvement since stepping up to a mile and a half in his last two outings, chasing home King Of Steel in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot before coming through the field from last to first to win the Great Voltigeur at York in August, which is thought to be a true test of potential for the St Leger. He was full of running at the finish and this might suggest that he will thrive on the extra two and a half furlongs in the big race at Doncaster.
He was well on top at the line in the Voltigeur and that performance indicated he would benefit from the extra two and a half furlongs on offer at Doncaster.
It has to be said that his respective jockey’s have produced rides from the top drawer in those last two races. He will need to be ridden with similar skill and intelligence if he is to prevail.
Gregory won his first three starts. He ground out victory when sent off the even-money favourite for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot to bring up the hat-trick. He was defeated at odds-on when third in the Great Voltigeur at York last time, but setting a strong pace from the off worked against him that day with the winner (Continuous) sitting well off early on. He is a resilient stayer who will appreciate stepping back off the early pace. Lacks experience compared to others in the race. Was favourite until Thursday when it was confirmed that Dettori would be aboard stablemate Arrest. Gregory will now be ridden by Kieran Shoemark, who has yet to ride the Ascot winner in a competitive race.
After a defeat at Newbury in the London Gold Cup in May, Desert Hero has improved hand over fist since stepping up to a mile and a half, winning two from two.
He came through the field on both occasions, slaloming around the opposition to secure the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot and making a late charge for home when he claimed the Group 3 >Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. These two wins came on different ground conditions and he looks like he could handle the step up in distance to challenge at Doncaster.
The St Leger will be his toughest test to date.
Middle Earth has gone from strength to strength, improving with each start, a highlight being his victory in the Melrose Cup at York in his last outing.
However, the St Leger Stakes will be a big step up in class and another improvement will be needed if he is to trouble the favourites.
St Leger Stakes 2023: Provisional Start List
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Making your St Leger Stakes picks: Key points
Riding Tactics: Gregory’s chances may improve with a more patient riding strategy, allowing him to utilise his stamina effectively over the extended St Leger distance. Arrest, with Detorri aboard, has now assumed the mantle of favourite.
Distance: Gregory’s past success in the Queen’s Vase suggests he can handle the race’s longer distance, giving him an advantage over Continuous if the race becomes a true test of stamina.
Market Prices: Keep an eye on the odds as the race approaches. It was seen as a showdown between Gregory and Continuous in the build up, however, Arrest has leapfrogged both in the eyes of the bookmakers thanks to Dettori being confirmed as his jockey.
Value Alternatives: Explore other horses in the field that have shown promise or improved form. Thorough research into their past performances and chances in the St Leger could reveal potential value bets.
Trainer and Jockey Form: Consider the current form of the trainers and jockeys involved, as they can have a significant impact on a horse’s performance.
Track Conditions: Track conditions at Doncaster on race day can influence outcomes, as some horses perform better on specific ground types. Stay updated on the weather forecast and track conditions leading up to the race.
In horse racing, as in all sports betting, wagering is always a gamble, so it’s crucial to weigh all available information, including recent form, tactics, odds, and potential value alternatives, before making a decision. Stay informed with the latest insights and analysis from experts in the horse racing industry as the race date approaches.
In the weeks leading up to the race, Gregory has been the slight favourite ahead of Continuous. However, in the last couple of days Arrest’s odds have shortened, with Dettori poised to be onboard at his final St Leger. As we move closer to the start time Continuous is strongly fancied to produce a top performance. There are other good horses, such as Middle Earth, in the race but Arrest, Gregory, Continuous and Desert Hero all have the quality to triumph. At Betting,com we think Arrest is the most likely of the four, due to the ground conditions and the Dettori factor.