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Below is copy supplied for the ATR website on September 1st:
With regards to the market for the world’s oldest classic first run in 1776, of the five British Classic races, it has been the Ladbrokes St Leger that has been the most consistent in terms of churning out successful favourites in the last quarter of a century and by some margin with Kingston Hill becoming the thirteenth winner in the last 23 runnings to justifying that support last year. As such, it is therefore no surprise that 29 of the last 33 winners finished in the first three last time out so it makes sense to concentrate on such runners and it is unlikely to be a coincidence that two of the four to fail this statistic were both Godolphin-owned horses with Mutafaweq filling fourth place in the Great Voltigeur and Classic Cliché fifth spot in the Irish Derby. Only three of the last 18 St Leger winners had not won a Group race; Bollin Eric, Arctic Cosmos and Encke.
All but five of the last 19 runnings of the St Leger have been dominated by Godolphin (6 wins), John Gosden (4 wins) and Aidan O’Brien (4 wins). Bondi Beach and Order Of St George give O’Brien two live chances to improve his record with the Ebor fifth, Fields Of Athenry, another for which chances can be argued. Three of Gosden’s four St Leger winners contested that Derby in which he supplied this season’s winner and runner-up but his main St Leger representative is the Bahrain Trophy winner, Mr Singh, who bids to emulate Masked Marvel for the same stable who won the St Leger having not run winning that Group 3 race at the Newmarket July Meeting.
On the subject of Derby form, seven of the last 18 St Leger winners took their chance at Epsom and the current ante-post favourite, Storm The Stars, finished third behind Golden Horn. After then placing in the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris, William Haggas’ tough and professional performer got his big race win by narrowly beating Bondi Beach in the Great Voltigeur. That York guide has featured as many as nine of the last 19 winners and, as all nine finished in the first four at York, we should also name check Giovanni Canaletto and Tashaar.
The Gordon Stakes in which Higland Reel beat Scottish (five lengths back to the third) has also been a highly influential guide with six of the last 15 St Leger winners having taken their chance in that Group 3 race at Glorious Goodwood, four of which completed the double. The winner seems unlikely to take his chance and the runner-up would need to be supplemented. The King Edward VII Stakes is also a notable guide with nine of the last 21 St Leger winners having taken part in that Royal Ascot Group 2 contest. The race’s leading contender this season appears to be Mr Singh who was runner-up to Balios before winning the Bahrain Trophy and then put away for Doncaster. Five of the last 18 winners posted a top-five finish in the Irish Derby in which Storm The Stars and Giovanni Caneletto filled the places behind Jack Hobbs with Highland Reel back in fifth. Two of the last six St Leger winners posted a top-three finish in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot won by Aloft who should appreciate being stepped back up in trip after struggling when dropped down to 1m4f in the Great Voltigeur.
Fillies lack a star performer as things stand for this season’s renewal to help improve their record of three wins (Sun Princess, Oh So Sharp and User Friendly), seven seconds (Diminuendo, Hellenic, Quiff, High And Low, Ramruma, Unsung Heroine and Talent) and three thirds (Untold, Roseate Tern and Look Here) from just 21 representatives since 1980 unless the Irish Oaks winner, Covert Love, who was narrowly foiled when attempting to add the Yorkshire Oaks, is given the green light.
A top four finish in the Great Voltigeur Stakes
Contested the Gordon Stakes, Derby or King Edward VII Stakes
A top five finish in the Irish Derby
Trained by John Gosden or Aidan O’Brien
Owned by Godolphin
Failed to finish in the first three last time out