Bondi Beach A St Leger Beauty
Trainer Aidan O’Brien may have a mountain to climb in an effort to get anywhere near the record 16 St Leger victories achieved by 19th century handler John Scott but the master of Ballydoyle can make it win number 5 in the final Classic of the season on Town Moor with the lightly-raced Bondi Beach.
Jockey William Buick will bid for his third Ladbrokes St Leger in six years after landing the plum ride on the son of Galileo who can be backed at a top price 5-2 with Stan James to gain revenge on long time market leader Storm The Stars following a controversial finish to York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes in which the Irish Derby runner-up carried the mount of Joseph O’Brien across the track in the closing stages.
William Haggas’s charge got the verdict on the Knavesmire by a half length and was allowed to keep the race by the stewards, a decision criticised by many professionals who felt Bondi Beach would have prevailed but for the interference. While that is all water under the bridge now the Irish runner can come out on top where it matters as there are several reasons for thinking that the roles will be reversed on this occasion.
The constitution of Storm The Stars has to be applauded as this will be the colt’s ninth race of a busy season which started back on the 15th April whereas Bondi Beach, unraced as a juvenile, almost certainly possesses the greater scope having only his fifth career start in the Doncaster Classic. The horse has already beaten stablemate and market rival Order Of St George once this season despite rider Seamie Heffernan losing his whip inside the final furlong and in the unlikely event of the ground coming up soft should have no trouble confirming that form.
The other Ballydoyle runner Fields Of Athenry, despite a creditable run in the Betfred Ebor under a big weight, looks below the standard normally required to win the race while supplemented entry Simple Verse is unlikely to become the first filly to win the race since User Friendly unless the 2015 race proves to be a poor renewal of the world’s oldest Classic.
2 Points Win Bondi Beach 5-2 Stan James