A double figure field looks virtually guaranteed for Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger as 15 horses have stood their ground at the latest acceptence stage for the final Classic of the season headed by Investec Derby runner-up Kingston Hill who is now a best price 11-4 in the ante-post market with Paddy Power, 888Sport and Racebets with the news that the son of Mastercraftsman, who is at his best with some cut in the ground, is likely to get his ideal conditions after 14mm of rain fell on Town Moor on Saturday turning the ground to good to soft, soft in places.
The unexpected downpour was greeted with delight by the favourite’s trainer Roger Varian, who is confident of decent ground leading up to the oldest Classic in the world, saying: ” There is no rain forecast so it is likely to be good ground come the weekend. It is September now. The temperature is going to be 18C tops, as opposed to high summer temperatures. The nights are longer, you can get dews, so there is a bit more hope of the moisture staying in the ground. Whatever they get at the weekend it is unlikely to be summer-fast, which is the ground we have not run on twice.”
Second favourite at a top price 11-2 with several bookmakers including Skybet and Betfred is Snow Sky from the Sir Michael Stoute stable who advertised his claims with a clear second place behind impressive Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Postponed at York’s Ebor Festival and will be ridden by owner Khalid Abdullah’s retained jockey James Doyle leaving the door open for Ryan Moore’s services. The current leader in the Flat jockey’s championship may partner the Stoute second string Kings Fete but is also in strong demand from a number of other trainers.
With Joseph O’Brien set to partner Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown his father will be looking for a rider to partner Granddukeoftuscany at Doncaster with Moore sure to be towards the top of the wish list while Mark Johnston has already offered the jockey the mount on either Alex My Boy or Somewhat, two of his three entries, with stable jockey Joe Fanning booked for Queens Vase winner Hartnell. Four-time winning trainer John Gosden is likely to be represented by Derby third Romsdal ( general 6-1 chance ), Forever Now and Marzocco with William Buick choosing his mount later in the week.