John Gosden has been the man to follow in the St Leger in recent years and he may have another live contender for this year’s renewal after his Feel Like Dancing took the Group 3 Bahrain Stakes at Newmarket, earning quotes of 20/1 for the Doncaster Classic.
The son of Galileo was the yard’s third winner of the 1m5f affair in as many years and will be looking to bring up the same double as Masked Marvel did for the Newmarket handler in 2011.
Masked Marvel was the second Leger win on the spin for Gosden, who had trained Arctic Cosmos to take the world’s oldest Classic in 2010. His Shantaram was in line to bid for the same prize in 2012 before injury sunk his bid, but there is every hope that Feel Like Dancing will line up on Town Moor for Lady Bamford, who also owned the former.
The proximity of the unfancied Jathabah and Havana Beat – both inside of a length behind the winner – will mean that the form must be taken with a pinch of salt, but there was a lot to like about his performance nonetheless.
Finding himself in the lead over 2f out, he showed great resolve in the heat of battle to hold off his pursuers.
Jockey William Buick was convinced that the horse had plenty left to work on after his latest success, telling the Racing Post “he’s going to improve as the season progresses and could be quite exciting towards the backend”.
Having previously finished a length-and-a-half behind Aidan O’Brien’s Leading Light, who – oddly enough is the 4/1 leading light for this year’s St Leger – over 2m at Ascot, he’s possibly franked that one’s form in the process of winning.
However, his performance at Newmarket is another step in the right direction and he was conceding two races worth of experience to the Ballydoyle representative at the Royal meeting.
After that Ascot run it was suggested that he would prefer slightly more cut in the ground and the fact that he stepped up on that performance at HQ, despite racing on good-to-firm going for the second race running, is another reason to take him seriously on Town Moor, where the autumnal going may well be easier.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.