Doncaster Racecourse and William Hill are delighted to announce that, at the five day stage, 16 horses remain entered for the 2018 William Hill St Leger, which takes place on Saturday 15 September.
The sponsors make KEW GARDENS 5/4 favourite to land the spoils for 2017 William Hill St Leger winning trainer, Aidan O’Brien. John Gosden’s LAH TI DAR (7/2) and Godolphin’s OLD PERSIAN (6/1), trained by Charlie Appleby second and third favourite, respectively.
|Brundtland (IRE)||3||9 1||Godolphin||Charlie Appleby|
|Dee Ex Bee (GB)||3||9 1||Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum||Mark Johnston|
|Flag of Honour (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|Giuseppe Garibaldi (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|Kew Gardens (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|Latrobe (IRE)||3||9 1||Mr Lloyd J. Williams||Joseph Patrick O'Brien|
|Loxley (IRE)||3||9 1||Godolphin||Charlie Appleby|
|Nelson (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|Old Persian (GB)||3||9 1||Godolphin||Charlie Appleby|
|Proschema (IRE)||3||9 1||Empire State Racing Partnership||Tom Dascombe|
|Raymond Tusk (IRE)||3||9 1||Middleham Park Racing XXXI & K Sohi||Richard Hannon|
|Southern France (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|The Pentagon (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D. Smith||Aidan O'Brien|
|Zabriskie (IRE)||3||9 1||Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd||Aidan O'Brien|
|Lah Ti Dar (GB)||3||8 12||Lord Lloyd-Webber||John Gosden|
|Maid Up (GB)||3||8 12||Brightwalton Bloodstock Ltd||Andrew Balding|
Rupert Adams of sponsors, William Hill commented, “We’re absolutely delighted with this field for the William Hill St Leger on Saturday. Kew Gardens (5/4) is a hot favourite, but there is some great value around with the likes of Old Persian (6/1) and Latrobe (10/1).”
With the four-day William Hill St Leger Festival getting underway on Wednesday, Clerk of the Course Roderick Duncan has commented, “Following 8mm of rain on Saturday, the going is now officially good to soft, good in places. There is a risk of some rain Tuesday into Wednesday morning, but it is forecast to be dry from Wednesday onwards”
William Hill Prices for the St Leger Stakes.
5/4 Kew Gardens
7/2 Lah Ti Dar
6/1 Old Persian
10/1 Southern France
12/1 Dee Ex Bee
14/1 Flag Of Honour
14/1 Raymond Tusk
16/1 Maid Up
20/1 The Pentagon
25/1 Giuseppe Garibaldi
Aidan O’Brien (Kew Gardens, The Pentagon, Southern France, Nelson)
Click here to watch Aidan O’Brien discuss William Hill St Leger favourite Kew Gardens
GROUP 1 winner KEW GARDENS heads the betting for the William Hill St Leger and trainer Aidan O’Brien reckons he is all set for a big run.
The three-year-old ran out an impressive winner at Royal Ascot when running over this trip for the first time and backed that up with a top-level win in France.
He then caught the eye when third in the Great Voltigeur and looks sure to appreciate the step back up in trip.
O’Brien said: “We were delighted with Kew Gardens at York.
“It wasn’t ideal under the penalty but he had to have the run and we just thought that was the perfect place to give him his prep.
“Ryan was delighted with him, he obviously stays further and we always thought that Doncaster would suit him.
“He had one disappointing run and that was in the Derby and he disappointed us a little bit at Lingfield so maybe he’s a horse that just likes a level track.
“We rode him forward enough in the Derby too and maybe if we’d taken our time with him that might have suited him better.
“He has a lot of experience, and we’ve got a bit of time between now and the race and hopefully he stays well and we get him there.”
Kew Gardens will be joined by Great Voltigeur second THE PENTAGON.
O’Brien continued: "The Pentagon had a break since the Derby and he was just ready to step up when we ran him at York and he should come on for that.
“We really think he will step forward from his York run and the better the ground the more it will suit him.”
O’Brien added: “SOUTHERN FRANCE is a lovely big horse, he’s a giant and he’s going to be an even better four-year-old but he’s a lovely horse.
“We were very happy with him at the Curragh, it wasn’t a very fast pace there so that wouldn’t have suited him as we were riding him back a little bit.
“The reason we were riding him back was because it was his first run back for a while and we didn’t want him to get too tired.
“Seamus rode him and he was very happy with him.”
The Ballydoyle team is completed by NELSON who will be one of the team that won’t be inconvenienced by soft ground.
O’Brien said: “Nelson will handle ease in the ground if it comes and he stays very well.
“He gets the trip really well and if ease in the ground comes he will handle it. He seems to be in really good form as well.”
Joseph O'Brien (Latrobe)
Click here to view Joseph O’Brien discuss Latrobe.
JOSEPH O'BRIEN is hoping his Irish Derby winner LATROBE can serve it up to the favourite in the final Classic of the season.
O'Brien's colt was a shock Irish Derby winner before a fact-finding run at York in the Juddmonte International Stakes.
Connections are now looking forward to stepping him back up in trip.
O'Brien said: "He's in good form. We probably got our tactics wrong a bit at York but obviously we also found out that we needed to go back up in trip.
"It was a bit of a fact-finding mission at York as we had the easier option of running him in the Great Voltigeur under a penalty.
"But I suppose it made more sense for us to find out exactly where we are with him. We had to rule it out or in.
"He didn't run too badly at all and we were probably a bit too positive in a race where you wanted to be sitting a bit further back. He was a bit outpaced and he stayed on well but after that we said we would go straight back up in trip.
"He's a grand big horse, uncomplicated and he should be better next year. He only had one start at two and he progressed a lot over the winter. Because he's a big horse he's still relatively lightly raced.
"It's a hugely competitive race but he is an Irish Derby winner and entitled to take his place. He should get the trip and we'll see what happens.
"His sire Camelot was second in the race but he's out of a quick mare and his sister is best at seven furlongs. It wouldn't be guaranteed he will stay but you'd have to be quite hopeful.
"I always thought he was relatively versatile with conditions but his best form has been on quick ground. But then he was only beaten a short head on soft ground so I would say he is versatile and the weather forecast whichever way wouldn't be a concern."
Charlie Appleby (Old Persian)
Click here to view Charlie Appleby preview his William Hill St Leger entries.
CHARLIE APPLEBY is hoping OLD PERSIAN can crown off a big season with victory in the William Hill St Leger.
Appleby has already enjoyed Classic success with Masar in the Derby and Old Persian gives him a fighting chance of adding another famous win to this season's achievements.
After an impressive win at Royal Ascot, the three-year-old finished sixth behind St Leger rival Latrobe in the Irish Derby, but he bounced right back to form when landing a game win in the Great Voltigeur at York on his last start.
Appleby said: "He really stepped up at Ascot when winning the King Edward. He had a progressive profile coming into the race and he's a typical Dubawi in that you never quite know when you're going to get to the bottom of them.
"We weren't disappointed with his run in the Irish Derby, it was just one of those races where we knew we were backing up quick enough and the race didn't pan out as we expected. We weren't in the right position and we knew and and we just put a line through that.
"But we got back on track in the Great Voltigeur and I thought it was a very game performance and therefore he's justifies his place in the William Hill St Leger and he's certainly a live contender and he's got all the right attributes.
"I don't put him out there as a dour stayer but he's a strong galloper and he wasn't for stopping in the Great Voltigeur, I think the trip will be well within his realms.
"As long as we get nice ground then he's a contender I wouldn't want him to be racing on anything bottomless as it just turns into a slog.
"We tried to give him a few easy days after York but he didn't appreciate that and was getting a little too fresh! He enjoys his work and very straightforward.
"It's been an amazing season it really has. Winning the Derby was a very special day and one we'll never forget. The rest of the season has sort of just snowballed from there.
"The William Hill St Leger is the final Classic of the year, it's a race that's steeped in history and it would be a great feather in the cap and we're looking forward to it especially as we're going into the race with a live contender."
Old Persian is joined in the race by the lightly raced BRUNDTLAND who has won both his starts.
He was last seen winning a Listed contest in France on his belated seasonal reappearance last month.
Appleby added: "We were surprised how he broke his maiden at Newmarket as a two-year-old because he's been a bit weak.
"In the spring he needed the time off again and coming into June and July he was just starting to fill out in all the right places.
"We just started to quietly train away and not put too much pressure or expectations on him and he started to come to hand quicker than what we expected.
"We went to France because I wanted to get a run into him before a possible crack at the William Hill St Leger.
"He was entitled to come forward a good bit from that run. He won well and has come out of it very well and there's still lots of untapped potential there.
"I think he's quite versatile with the ground and good ground will be fine for him
"He's a different profile of a horse to Old Persian and he's very much a work in progress. I feel whatever we see at Doncaster his future will be next year as a four-year-old.
"I think his forte will be this trip and further in the future, and he's a relentless galloper."