Aidan O’Brien has had to make room in his perpetually expanding trophy cabinet three times already for the Ladbrokes St Leger and the brains of Ballydoyle looks set to have to make further room.
The sagacious saddler has made no fewer than a dozen entries for the oldest of Britain’s five Classics with recent Chester Vase winner Leading Light spearheading the County Tipperary charge.
This mob-handed approach by Ireland’s champion trainer is nothing new but what has surprised some is the absence of the English and Irish Derby winners Ruler of The World and Trading Leather.
Both were being touted as main protagonists for the season finale but their loss is certainly Leading Light’s gain with the bookmakers in agreement in installing the son of Montjeu as 4/1 jolly for the Town Moor showpiece.
The race has not been kind to market leaders in recent years with none obliging in the last six renewals. Sixties Icon was the last favourite to succeed when the race was staged at York in 2006 under Frankie Dettori who also guided Scorpion to victory at 10/11F when the contest was back at its rightful home.
None of this history will bother O’Brien who will be keen to recapture the race after last year’s bitterly disappointing result where stable star Camelot was out-sprinted by Godolphin’s Encke as his Triple Crown bid cruelly fled.
Leading Light made an inauspicious beginning to his career when beating only one home in a maiden at Galway last year but since then has gone onto win his next four culminating in a 1 ½ length defeat of Feels Like Dancing at Royal Ascot.
The colt’s all-conquering handler has had this race as a target for some time and with so many plans from that part of Ireland hatching when and where they are intended his position at the market’s summit is justified.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.