You don’t need a run at Glorious Goodwood prior to taking the Ladbrokes St Leger, but based on the past decade’s form, it clearly helps.
Last year’s winner Simple Verse managed to stay just below the radar at Doncaster, winning the UK Flat campaign’s closing Classic at 8/1, despite bossing Glorious Goodwood’s Lillie Langtry Stakes at 11/1 in late July, with Ralph Beckett’s animal tipped by the Racing Post on both occasions.
The West Sussex summer festival’s Gordon Stakes is often the pointer to St Leger success – Conduit and Rebel Soldier have both pulled off the double over the past decade, while Arctic Cosmos and Encke each landed the latter after placing in the former since 2010.
Ladbrokes have currently priced up just one of the nine who lined up in last month’s 1m4f event, won by Aidan O’Brien’s Ulysses, but 40/1 shot Prize Money can’t be ruled out at mammoth odds.
The Saeed bin Suroor runner didn’t quite get the trip, yet ran much better than three weeks earlier at Newmarket over a furlong further, when finishing last of nine having gone off 5/4 favourite.
Despite ending up fifth, Prize Money only finished 2½l behind Ulysses, showing significant improvement since posting disappointing seconds over 1m2f and 1m3f earlier in the campaign.
With still a month to go before Doncaster’s big day, this clearly improving three-year-old could have plenty left in the tank.
Simple Verse looked a long way from St Leger glory when runner-up in a far-from-stellar Goodwood handicap in May 2015, nine weeks before besting all at the same track ahead of taking the 1m6f slog at summer’s end.
Unfortunately, there’s no chance of another Lillie Langtry/Ladbrokes St Leger double this year, as Glorious Goodwood winner California is four years old, as were the other six runners who made up the field that day, and therefore ineligible for the 3yo-only event.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.