ST LEGER RECOMMENDED BET:
What is the St Leger?
The oldest Classic, and one of the oldest top level races, the Leger was established in 1776. It was created by Anthony St Leger, an army officer and politician who lived near Doncaster, and as such it takes its name from him.
The Final leg of the English Triple Crown, which began with the 2000 Guineas and continued with the Derby, it also completes the Fillies' Triple Crown, following on from the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks.
It’s been a long time since the race featured a Triple Crown contender, with the only one in recent years being the 2012 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Camelot, who finished second in one of the more memorable and controversial renewals of the St Leger.
The St Leger is firmly one of the biggest betting heats of the year with the best betting sites.
What can we learn from previous renewals?
By this time of year, the Classic crop has already been well established and the cream has risen to the top, which can be a big help to big race punters.
The winners’ roll of honour for the Leger is a who’s who of brilliant organisations and trainers. 16 of the last 23 runnings have gone the way of Godolphin (6 wins), Aidan O’Brien (6 wins) and John Gosden (4 wins), with those three also having several runners-up and third places.
Over the last two and a half decades, favourites have an over 50% strike rate, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given the test that the Leger provides.
The best trial is the The Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, having featured ten of the last 23 winners, although the Queen’s Vase has also proven to be very useful – Kew Gardens won it before taking the Leger and Harbour Law placed in the 2016 running before posting a Leger shocker.
Who Leads The Market?
Logician, the rapidly progressive son of Frankel who is unbeaten in four starts and a best price of even money with BetHard. That is obviously a short price, but you’d be hard pushed to suggest he should be any bigger after his deeply impressive Great Voltigeur win over Constantinople, when he was one of the first off the bridle but easily found most, eventually winning cosily over the very solid yardstick.
The St Leger is another quarter of a mile further, but he was best in the last two furlongs at York and it would be a surprise if, at face value, he failed on stamina grounds.
Who’s Next In The Market?
888Sport are 3/1 on Sir Dragonet, who went off favourite for the Derby after a wide margin win in the Chester Vase. That day, when he beat Norway by eight lengths and then had the subsequent Queen’s Vase winner Dashing Willoughby behind, he looked tailor-made for the Leger test here.
He didn’t lose anything in defeat when a close up fifth in the Derby, but he was a bit lacklustre when only fourth in the Royal Whip Stakes. That was his first run since the Derby but is he going to be back to his best?
Prior to his run in the Lonsdale Cup, you could have had 25/1 and above on Il Paradiso. After his fine third at York, he’s now a best price of 6/1 with Unibet the same firm.
The challenge for punters is to evaluate whether that York run was the sign of a transformed horse, blossoming at the end of his three-year-old career, or whether he may have been flattered. He was only seventh in the Irish Derby in June, but then was a wide margin winner of a Curragh handicap over 2 miles.
Any Other Contenders?
The list of non-Ballydoyle/Gosden contenders begins with Sir Ron Priestley, 10/1 with BetHard, is a typically tough and progressive Mark Johnston horse who made the step up into group company with a win in the March Stakes, when making virtually all and finding plenty to outstay the opposition.
He’s not to be underestimated even if he’s taking another step up in class here – a bigger worry is him having to face a lot of pressure for the lead here.
Technician (14/1 with Bet365) got no run in the Chester Vase behind Sir Dragonet and has since won twice, the latest of this victories coming in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes when he got the better of a slog with the very useful older horse Morando.
He was a disappointment at Glorious Goodwood behind Nayef Road in August, interestingly on the fastest ground he’s faced since the spring. The question is however, does he need the cut in the ground?
Dashing Willoughby, a 16/1 shot with RedZone, was third in the Chester Vase and then thrived for the step up in trip at Royal Ascot, taking the Queen’s Vase. He has since run well in the Princess of Wales’ Stakes and the Goodwood Cup, and it might be that he’s been dismissed a little too easily by the markets. Does he also need cut in the ground? Any rain will surely help his chances.
Nayef Road (33/1 with William Hill) was a disappointment in the Great Voltigeur considering just how game he was when taking the Gordon Stakes and he might be exposed now.
There are other Ballydoyle contenders in the final field, including King George V Handicap winner South Pacific (then sixth in the Goodwood Cup), Barbados, and West Australia, but a victory for any of them would come as a real surprise.