15:35 Doncaster – St Leger
First run in 1776, The St Leger is the oldest of the five classic races. It is the final leg of the English Triple Crown (following the 2000 Guineas and The Derby) and is the final classic of the flat season.
Aidan O’Brien has won this race six times since 2001 and fires three darts in his attempt at the hat-trick this year, following victories in 2017 for Capri and Kew Gardens last season. His two most likely challengers, backed up by the early market prices, look to be Sir Dragonet and Il Paradiso.
Sir Dragonet’s performance in The Chester Vase in May was particularly impressive, quickening clear to beat stablemate Norway by eight lengths. He then moved on to The Derby and despite only finishing fifth he was actually beaten less than a length in a bunched finish. The Derby form has been franked at the highest level by the likes of Japan and Circus Maximus, however the son of Camelot disappointed in a Group 3 race at The Curragh last time out. Although Aidan O’Brien has shown time and again his runners can bounce back, both of Sir Dragonet’s career victories have come on slower ground so I fear he may prove vulnerable with the forecast good-to-firm ground conditions.
Il Paradiso won over two miles on penultimate run and was only a couple of lengths behind Stradivarius in The Lonsdale Cup last time out. Also a winner over twelve furlongs, he looks to have both speed an stamina in his locker and with victories on both good and good-to-firm ground he looks to be the most likely of Aidan O’Brien’s runners to put up a challenge to the favourite.
A mention should also go to the Mark Johnston runner Sir Ron Priestley who has an incredible season winning five from six including a Group 3 race over fourteen furlongs at Goodwood last time out. Most victories have come following a battle with rivals in the final furlong so he has proven he can handle a fight to the finish and cannot be overlooked for an each way play.
That said, for the winner it is extremely difficult to look past the John Gosden trained Logician. The Newmarket trainer has four St Leger victories to his name and looks to have an excellent chance of gaining a fifth with the unbeaten Frankel colt. He has been visually impressive in all four career runs to date, winning each in striking fashion including when beating the re-opposing Nayef Road and Norway in the Great Voltigeur at the York Ebor Festival last time out, effortlessly moving to the lead with two furlongs to go and seeing his race out comfortably. Mentioned as ‘tailor-made’ for this race by his trainer, he looks worthy of his place at the head of the market and is once again partnered by jockey Frankie Dettori who himself has won this race five times and bids for an incredible fifteenth Group 1 victory of the season.
In what may seem as an obvious choice, I simply feel that Logician is the best horse in the race. The one concern I would have is the possible tactics employed by Aidan O’Brien’s runners meaning that we get a race that isn’t truly run, however Frankie Dettori is a master when it comes to winning the big races so with him in the saddle, and barring any incidents or accidents, we should see Frankie and Logician visiting the winners’ enclosure today.
Logician (WIN) – NAP
13:50 Doncaster – Justanotherbottle (E/W)
14:05 Chester – Durston (WIN)
14:25 Doncaster – Turjomaan (WIN)
14:45 Chelmsford – Piece Of History (WIN)
15:00 Doncaster – Royal Crusade (WIN)
15:35 Doncaster – Logician (WIN)