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St Leger
Doncaster St Leger 3.35pm Live on ITV - Saturday 15th September

St Leger – Doncaster Saturday 15th September 3.35pm

Gosden to claim St Leger glory again?

John Gosden has surprised many this week by entering LAH TI DAR into the St Leger.

The unbeaten filly has immediately gone towards the top of most bookmakers markets.  Some have even made her favourite for the 2018 St Leger!

Her last appearance at the Dante meeting at York saw her win impressively by 10l in the Class 1 Galtres Stakes.  A slight concern for me was that that race was only over 1m 3f.  That is the furthest distance this fantastic filly has run so far.  Her other wins have come over 1m 2f and 1m 3f.

The ground should be of no concern to her.  Her 1st victory at Newbury in April came on Good to Soft.  So far her 3 victories have totalled over 18l which is hugely impressive.  I would imagine Frankie Dettori is already imagining riding his sixth St Leger winner.

Her main rival according to the bookmakers and also form figures is the Aiden O’Brien trained KEW GARDENS.  If we look at his run at Royal Ascot that clearly shows the distance is no issue.  He was still staying on when winning the Queens Vase by 4l that day.  He has won at varying distances from 1m at Killarney on Soft going to 1m 3f at Longchamp on his penultimate run on good going.  This show the colts versatility.  Whilst he has many losses on his record he has been running at a high level since race 3 of his career and in that time has only finished out of the frame twice in 9 races.  One of those races was the Investec Derby at Epsom!

He is still the favourite on many bookmakers cards and it is very easy to see why when you look at the formbook.  It will be interesting to see which of the O’Brien horses Ryan Moore chooses to ride come Saturday at 3.35pm.

Surprise St Leger winner?

If the winner of the St Leger is not to come from the 2 main market leaders then where is it to come from?

LOXLEY looks an interesting contender.  Now confirmed to run by Charlie Appleby he routed his rivals at Deauville last time out.  Though they were not quite up to the same standard as these, the question is can he come on for that run?  James Doyle is booked to take the ride.

SOUTHERN FRANCE is another Aiden O’Brien contender who cannot be written off.  He is improving with each run and chased home his stable companion Kew Gardens in the Queens Vase at Ascot.  He was also very unfortunate in the Irish trial for this race so I think we can almost overlook that result.  It will be very interesting to see the tactics employed on this horse and whether he is allowed to run the race on his own merits.  Donnacha O’Brien looks likely to take this ride.

The only other genuine contender I can see is the other Charlie Appleby horse.  OLD PERSIAN comes here with 3 wins from his last 4 races.  His only defeat has come in the Irish Derby.   There I felt he was put into the lead too early and then obviously weakened.  A huge concern here would be the trip.  He loves to be near the front and dictating.  I just fear that these other horse have a little bit too much class and finishing speed in the last quarter mile for him.  William Buick is the jockey on board.

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