The final Classic of the season is upon us on Saturday with the latest running of the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster. We look over the final big-race field for the Group One highlight and take a runner-by-runner look at the participants as we give our Doncaster St Leger tips for the feature race of the day.
Almost in the blink of an eye since horse racing restarted following the Covid-19 lockdown we find ourselves looking at the season’s final Classic race, the oldest of the Classics with the latest running of the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster.
The famous stayers’ Classic has been around since 1776 and has a rich and illustrious roll-call of winners down through the years. The 2020 renewal is unlikely to prove an exception with a strong field assembled to contest a first prize just short of £200,000 to the winner.
Spearheading Saturday’s ITV Racing coverage, the last Classic of the current flat racing season unfolds at 3.35pm on the Town Moor track with eleven runners going to post. We look over the big-race field with our runner-by-runner guide and give our St Leger tips for Classic glory.
SATURDAY DONCASTER ST LEGER TIPS – RUNNER-BY-RUNNER PREVIEW
Showed good form as a juvenile, winning at Chester before posting a good third behind Max Vega in the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket on his final start.
Andrew Balding’s Sir Percy colt has bumped into both English King and Santiago this term, coming off worst both times and latterly could only finish fourth to Pyledriver in the Great Voltigeur Stakes last month following a break.
He will be suited by this return to a stiffer test but he needs to improve if he’s to upset the applecart here.
One of three in the race for Aidan O’Brien and the Galileo colt finished third to Santiago in the Irish Derby before getting off the mark at Naas in July.
However he was a shade disappointing over this trip when turned over at odds-on behind Pista in a Listed contest at Leopardstown when last seen. That form is decent given the winner won the Doncaster Cup on Thursday and he’s not to be underestimated for his top connections.
Has proven to be most progressive this term, winning all three starts since returning from an absence and Joseph O’Brien’s charge could take another forward step upped again in class.
Fifth on his sole juvenile start, he has reeled off wins at the Curragh, Leopardstown and Navan latterly, beating Emperor Of The Sun cosily by five lengths in the Yeats Stakes and there’s surely more in the locker on that evidence.
He relished the soft ground and longer trip that day and he could progress again faced with an even stiffer test with ground unlikely to faze him so he could prove a major player here given his potential for further improvement.
Rapidly progressive sort who has won his last three starts which include the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot and latterly the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury where he looked every inch a Pattern performer with a ready defeat of Max Vega.
He ran out a comfortable winner that day and there’s likely better still to come from the Sea The Stars colt who was strong at the finish so will be suited by this extra furlong. He also proved softer ground to hold no fears and no surprise to see him make his presence felt.
Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile but David Simcock’s charge has to bounce back from two defeats this term and there’s a suspicion he hasn’t trained on as well as some others so he’s likely to be vulnerable here.
The Australia colt had beaten Subjectivist in a Listed contest on his second juvenile start and he possibly needed the return when beaten by Pyledriver at Royal Ascot on his first start back. However he was an Epsom Derby also-ran, beating only four home and he’ll need to improve markedly for this step up in trip.
Boasts some useful form at a lesser level, scoring at Gowran Park last term but his runs this season leave him with plenty on his plate.
In three outings he has collectively beaten only six rivals home, including finishing well down the field in the Epsom Derby and he latterly was readily beaten by Nickajack Cave in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown.
That wasn’t a bad effort but it showed he was a level below what is required to win this and he faces a tall order to win this Classic although the longer trip may help.
Has been a real success story for William Muir this term, winning twice with victories at Royal Ascot and latterly the Great Voltigeur at York.
The Harbour Watch colt is a real rags-to-riches story and he readily put his Epsom Derby disappointment behind him on the Knavesmire latest when beating Highland Chief and others by the thick end of four lengths having travelled strongly into the race.
He had the reopposing Subjectivist well-beaten in behind – that one has won since – and he could still have further improvement to come although he’s untested at this longer trip. It wouldn’t be a surprise however to see him getting firmly involved if lasting home over the additional yardage and stiff finish and he wasn’t stopping at the end of the Great Voltigeur which suggests he’ll get this trip. He rates a big player and he ought to go well.
Very progressive sort who rounded off his juvenile campaign with a win at Listowel before landing the hat-trick with wins on his reappearance at Royal Ascot in the Queen’s Vase and then winning the Irish Derby with a defeat of Tiger Moth.
Aidan O’Brien’s Authorized colt lost no caste in defeat when stepped up to two miles to take on Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup but was ultimately no match for the superstar stayer who swatted him aside with relative ease.
He might be better back at this shorter distance and with the ground ideal he should play a big part under Dettori.
Typically tough front-runner from the Mark Johnston camp who has won twice in a busy campaign that has seen him run six times.
The Teofilo colt latterly ran out an impressive winner of the Group Three March Stakes at Goodwood, beating Cabaletta by a wide margin; however he had previously been slammed at York by Pyledriver in the Great Voltigeur although he could do better over this trip.
He has to improve and it remains to be seen if a busy campaign might have taken the edge of him, while he’ll find it harder to dominate his field at this higher level. There’s a feeling he may just find this all a bit too much.
Has finished runner-up the last twice which includes at Listed level latest behind Pista where he was only beaten a half-length with reopposing Dawn Patrol behind him.
He had previously been well beaten by Santiago in the Irish Derby and he very much looks up against it here where he has plenty to find with the principals.
Winner on his only start to date, beating a couple of useful prospects a shade readily at this venue in July.
Both the runner-up and third have gone on to post wins and Richard Spencer’s charge could improve for the experience gained from that first outing. He’ll need to find a significant chunk of progress however thrust into this grade where he faces a very stiff task on just his second start and he’s likely to find this level too much.
ST LEGER TIPS – BIG-RACE VERDICT
Pyledriver could cap a rags-to-riches story if taking Classic glory and William Muir’s £10000 star can go well although he has stamina to prove over this trip.
Hukum and Galileo Chrome are respected stepping up in class on the back of winning sequences but SANTIAGO gets the vote having already proven himself at the top level having won at Royal Ascot and in the Irish Derby, and Aidan O’Brien’s charge last no caste in defeat when failing to down Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup.
The Authorized colt perhaps didn’t entirely give himself the best chance of success having raced keenly, but he could benefit from the return to this trip and ground will hold no fears. His accomplishments to date arguably set the form standard and with Frankie Dettori a top jockey booking for the Ballydoyle camp then he looks sure to post a big effort.