St Leger runner breakdown: Leading Light

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Having won over distances ranging from 1m1f to 2m in his five-race career, people may be forgiven for thinking that Leading Light is a jack of all trades, master of none. But Aidan O’Brien’s charge could yet be something special and sits top of Ladbrokes’ ante post market as 4/1 co-favourite.

A son of Montjeu, there was every chance that the three-year-old could be a half-decent specimen. Indeed O’Brien landed this race in 2005 with one of the great sire’s offspring, Scorpion.

That triumph was the last Irish win in the Doncaster showpiece and the third victory for the Ballydoyle team, who went close again with Camelot last year, another son of Montjeu.

Leading Light’s racecourse debut was somewhat of a disappointment for connections, with the newcomer looking one-paced before finishing fourth of five.

But since then, the improvements seen in the colt have been eye-catching. Now, unbeaten in four, with wins ranging in ground conditions (from heavy to good to firm) and distance, winning the St Leger looks well within his reach.

One thing that has been consistent in the runs since his debut has been the tenacity shown by Derrick Smith’s charge.

A win at Royal Ascot in the Queens Vase was the most recent of his victories, and the genuine nature of this horse really showed through that day. With Joseph O’Brien hard at work long before some of the others, his gallant mount plugged on well to see off the field.

That victory was his second at Group level, after a start to finish win at the Curragh in the 1m2f Gallinule Stakes. Even then, over six furlongs shorter than his Ascot triumph, O’Brien the younger was animated some way out, but his steed was not to be denied.

Those wins mean Leading Light is just one of four remaining in the field for this week’s Classic that have a Group race victory to their name.

And with 10 of the last 11 winners having won in Pattern company prior to contesting this race, Aidan O’Brien could yet be entering the winners enclosure on Town Moor once again.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.