Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger, the final domestic Classic of the season, received a significant boost for the home defence with the news that the Ralph Beckett-trained filly Simple Verse has been supplemented for the historic contest first run in 1776 following today’s 5-day declaration stage for which 8 horses stood their ground.
The part-owned Qatar Racing daughter of Duke Of Marmalade is a welcome addition to the race that is dominated by entries from the powerful Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien who will be attempting to win the world’s oldest Classic for a fifth time, still well short of the record 16 victories achieved by 19th century handler John Scott between 1827 and 1862. The last filly to win the race was User Friendly in 1992 although Beckett has gone close on two occasions with Look Here ( third in 2008 ) and Talent ( runner-up behind Leading Light two years ago ).
Saturday’s trip of 1m 6f 132y should prove no problem for Simple Verse who won over just short of that distance when running out a length and a half winner over Hidden Gold and Jordan Princess in Goodwood’s Markel Insurance Fillies’ Stakes ( Lillie Langtry ) last time and can be backed at 16-1 with Paddy Power to recoup some of the £50k paid by connections to supplement, of which Beckett said: “She worked very well on Saturday, she’s had a number of tests done and all those came back A1 and we feel it’s the right time to have a go and roll the dice. We’re very much looking forward to it.”
From a possible six runners at the weekend Ballydoyle have reduced their entry by half – with Order Of St George ( 9-4 generally ), Bondi Beach ( 9-2 William Hill ) and Fields Of Athenry ( 8-1 Ladbrokes ) the three remaining probables – while the home defence is headed by Irish Derby runner-up Storm The Stars ( 5-2 Generally ). The potential starting line-up is completed by Vengeue Masque, Medrano and Proposed.