Whilst some horses at the head of the betting have been pointed towards the Ladbrokes St Leger for months, Libertarian’s preparation has been somewhat more uncertain.
The 8/1 three-year-old will be one of the horses attempting to give Godolphin a seventh winner in the Classic on Saturday afternoon, but things have been far from plain sailing for the colt ever since a second place in the Derby at Epsom at the beginning of June.
A previous winner of the Dante at York, Libertarian’s Epsom showing was supposed to herald the start of stellar form leading towards Doncaster, but then he made his debut for Godolphin in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Finishing eighth of nine was hardly the plan for Sheikh Mohammed, and there was concern over Libertarian’s St Leger chances when he was withdrawn from the Great Voltigeur at York last month.
It appears as though that concern was well-founded, with Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford seemingly rating his chances well below those of stablemates Cap O’Rushes and Secret Number.
“Libertarian was bought with the Ladbrokes St Leger very much in mind,” he said. “We thought he would be an ideal candidate for the Classic. But, having said that, I cannot help wondering if that will backfire.
“His run in the Irish Derby was too bad to be true, but the ground was very quick that day and he didn’t like it. It has taken him a long time to get over that race, while he had a very hard campaign in the spring.
“I think we are going there [Doncaster] guessing. The jury is out and he still has a lot to prove.”
Mickael Barzalona has the choice of riding Libertarian or Cap O’Rushes on Saturday, but comments like that are only likely to make the Frenchman opt for the latter – with whom he won the Gordon Stakes earlier this season.
That would only add to the uncertainty surrounding Libertarian, who enters the Ladbrokes St Leger under something of a cloud.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication