As the flagship race at one of the year’s most hotly-anticipated meetings, the Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes features a who’s who of top racing talent. Trainers including Aidan O’Brien, who looks after two of the entrants, will have a lot riding on the big race this Saturday.
Until recently, the pre-race favourite was Leading Light (4/1), trained by O’Brien. However, despite winning five of his last six races, the competition appears to be closing in, led by Galileo Rock (9/2). He managed to finish second in the lucrative Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Another of the big names in the field, Excess Knowledge (10/3), has also managed to claim creditable finishes in major races. A second-place finish at the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July suggested that he has some form coming into the St Leger.
As for Foundry, whose odds have steadily shortened in the past few days to 5/1, he’s a newcomer to the sport, but already has a win from his first two races. His victory came in a low-key meeting at Leopardstown, but second in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York is impressive.
Of the rest of the field, one name that stands out is Libertarian. While finishing eighth in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh, before then, he was runner-up at the Investec Derby at Epsom back in June, winning nearly £300,000 in prize money.
There’s a good chance that Libertarian’s odds may tumble in the coming days from 13/2. Two wins earlier on in his fledgling career suggest that there are at least five entrants who can harbour hopes of claiming the big prize in Doncaster.
When it comes to those further back in the ante-post St Leger betting, the duo of Talent (10/1) and Secret Number (16/1) look like tempting each-way chances. Great Hall, who at the time of writing is a 25/1 shot, could maybe upset the more fancied entrants.
Back-to-back victories at Haydock and Newmarket for Great Hall aren’t to be sniffed at, even though they came in relatively weak fields. Improvement is needed in order to cope with the big names, but nothing can be ruled out just yet.
Cap O’Rushes, a 20/1 shot, has won in fields containing some of the other contenders, but his recent form has been mixed. A place may be the best owners Godolphin could possibly hope for, but they will have an eye on some of the other races during the festival.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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