St Leger - At The Races

15:35 Doncaster 15 Sep 2018

William Hill St Leger Stakes (Group 1) (British Champion Series) (Class 1) (3YO only)

Winner £421,355 - 12 ran

4
Weighed In

Runner Profiles

    ATR's Sean Boyce has analysed the credentials of the 12 horses declared for the 2018 renewal of the world's oldest Classic - updated with Sean's selection!

Horse profiles

Dee Ex Bee

  • 3-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: Farhh - Dubai Sunrise (Seeking The Gold)
  • Trained by: M Johnston
  • Last Race: Doncaster, 15 Sep 2018 15:35
  • Result: 4/12, tracked leader, pushed along 4f out, ridden 3f out, kept on same pace towards far side rail from over 1f out, no impression in 4th final furlong
  • View full form

The Derby runner-up and long considered a real St Leger contender by his trainer Mark Johnston. It’s debatable whether he has reached quite the heights of his Epsom form in three runs since. He has 4 ¼ lengths to find with Kew Gardens on their Grand Prix de Paris form, where he may have helped set the race up for the Leger favourite by helping to ensure a strong fast pace. On that basis he could struggle but the trip may well bring out the best in him and he has shown admirable guts and determination to go with the Classic form he already has in the book. The forecast is uncertain between now and Leger day but he seems reasonably flexible in that regard and boasts solid credentials overall.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
30 Jun 2018:

Kew Gardens (IRE)

The subject of strong market confidence in a race in which favourites enjoy a terrific strike rate and far and away the most hotly fancied of Aidan O’Brien’s powerful team. Those willing to take short prices will point to his demolition job of a good field in the Queen's Vase at Ascot and another impressive and well-timed winning run in the Grand Prix de Paris next time. Fans will fancy his Voltigeur form, where a penalty meant he was giving weight to the horses that beat him. Those willing to take him on will reference his tame eclipse in the Lingfield Derby Trial and an even less bold showing in the Derby itself. Another negative, his layers may argue, is the fact that he failed to finish in front of the Godolphin duo in the Great Voltigeur at York last time out and even on revised terms he is far from certain to reverse that form. Everything he’s done on the track says this trip will suit, although his mother’s best progeny to date have been sprinters/milers. Mind you, none of them was by Galileo! Lots of positives and a few negatives combine to make him a real opinion divider at the head of the market.

Video Form
7 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
12 May 2018:
24 Sep 2017:
9 Sep 2017:

Loxley (IRE)

His Robin of Hood themed name is a reference to his dam Lady Marian. She was runner-up in a German Oaks and boasted an admirable overall level of form. This colt is looking the real deal on what we’ve seen this season. A competent Listed success over an extended 10 furlongs in France was followed up with a fluid and professional win over the mile and a half at Deauville in Group 2 company next time.

Video Form
6 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
28 Oct 2017:

Nelson (IRE)

So far this season he has been much more able seaman than admiral. Aidan O’Brien has earmarked him as a likely runner but he has tended to be employed as a pacemaker for more conservatively ridden stablemates during the Classic campaign. It is however a proven folly to assume running plans for any Aidan O’Brien runner in any race and it must be remembered that at the back end of last season this colt was an odds-on favourite ahead of a horse called Roaring Lion, who has turned out to be pretty handy. The way he’s been ridden so far suggests he’s likely to burn out but, as ever, it is not inconceivable that those expectations are misplaced. He did, after all, have enough ability to take the Ballysax Stakes at the start of the season.

Video Form
7 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
13 May 2018:
14 Apr 2018:
9 Sep 2017:

Old Persian

  • 3-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: Dubawi - Indian Petal (Singspiel)
  • Trained by: C Appleby
  • Last Race: Doncaster, 15 Sep 2018 15:35
  • Result: 5/12, tracked leaders, headway 3f out, led narrowly over 2f out, ridden and headed inside final 2f, no impression from over 1f out
  • View full form

Started the season with a handicap win off 94 before progressing first to Listed success, at Newmarket, before stepping up again to take the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Got rather lost in the crowd in the Irish Derby next time out but - crucially - came out on top in the Great Voltigeur at York. He was receiving a few pounds from Kew Gardens of course but was giving weight to his better fancied stablemate Cross Counter. William Buick rode at the Curragh and James Doyle was on board at York. Whatever the riding arrangements he’s entitled to fancy his chances against the hot favourite Kew Gardens. One small misgiving might be that a large field and a rougher race may be against him if, as seems possible, he didn’t enjoy being in the ruck at the Curragh.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
30 Jun 2018:
2 Sep 2017:

Proschema (IRE)

  • 3-y-o; chestnut colt
  • Breeding: Declaration Of War - Notable (Zafonic)
  • Trained by: Tom Dascombe
  • Last Race: York, 12 Oct 2018 15:50
  • Result: 2/12, held up in mid-division, headway over 3f out, edged left and went 2nd over 2f out, no impression on winner from over 1f out, kept on
  • View full form

He’s managed a couple of successes in an eight-race career to date. His two most recent starts came in handicap company. He acquitted himself well in both cases, with a fourth place at Goodwood and a third in the Melrose at York last time out. That experience will have toughened him up but whether he has the class to be competitive here is another matter.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
2 Jun 2018:
24 Mar 2018:

Raymond Tusk (IRE)

Earned a tilt at a big target with an emphatic success in the Listed Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton. Found Hamada a little too hot in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury next time out but hit the line hard that day and likely that the slightly longer trip of the Leger will prove a help rather than a hindrance. Likeable horse from a top team but likely to struggle according to bare ratings.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:

Southern France (IRE)

Stamina is not an issue for this strong staying sort who took a listed race at Navan on his third start. Next time out he was a very creditable second to Kew Gardens at Ascot, despite getting pretty warm and looking a little green at times in the run. His most recent effort was in the Irish Leger Trial at the Curragh where everything about his run suggested that he was going step up and onwards from that effort. He came from last that day to work his way though the field into fourth. We wait to see how Aidan deploys his troops for the big day but further progression from this colt seems highly likely.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
25 Aug 2018:
19 May 2018:
13 May 2018:
23 Apr 2018:

The Pentagon (IRE)

In common with a few of the Aidan O’Brien team, it’s been an up and down sort of a season for this colt. On pedigree there’s plenty to recommend him and, search hard enough, and there are glimpses of form to be found too. He was a short-priced favourite for the Derrinstown Derby Trial and whilst he could manage only third that day, he actually ran pretty well and the winner was Harzand who sadly hasn’t had the chance to fulfil his potential but wasn’t disgraced in the Derby. The Pentagon struggled in both the Derby and Irish Derby and may have been unsuited by the way the Voltigeur panned out. For various reasons he hasn’t been able to show us quite what he’s capable of but is another who warrants respect if he does show up.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
30 Jun 2018:
13 May 2018:
14 Apr 2018:
28 Oct 2017:

Zabriskie

  • 3-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: Frankel - Moonlight's Box (Nureyev)
  • Trained by: A P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Naas, 30 Sep 2018 14:55
  • Result: 7/8, led, 4 lengths clear halfway, pushed along and headed approaching straight, ridden and soon no extra, weakened, eased under 2f out, completely tailed off
  • View full form

A 50/1 third in the Dante appears to be a fluke at first glance but this Frankel colt is a half-brother to both Maxios and Bago, so it’s far from impossible that there is some real talent lurking within. His efforts either side of that run hardly inspire confidence however and he was very well held in the Great Voligeur last time with no obvious excuses.

Video Form
30 Sep 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
26 Sep 2017:
20 Aug 2017:

Lah Ti Dar

  • 3-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Dubawi - Dar Re Mi (Singspiel)
  • Trained by: J H M Gosden
  • Last Race: Ascot, 20 Oct 2018 14:40
  • Result: 3/11, raced wide early, soon tracking leaders, led over 2f out, soon ridden, headed over 1f out, one pace and no impression when lost 2nd inside final furlong, kept on same pace in 3rd
  • View full form

There is not much racecourse evidence to judge this filly on but what there is available is compelling. On a day where Sea of Class set pulses racing in the Yorkshire Oaks, Lah Ti Dar caused outright palpitations with a devastating ten-length rampage in the Galtres Stakes on the same card at York. That race was at a much lower level than what is required here but her extraordinary pedigree gives every encouragement that she can take the step up in class in her stride. Kew Gardens and all the boys had better be on their A game as this filly is no B lister and is potentially capable of superstar status.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:

Maid Up

Narrowly beaten by Pilaster in a thriller of a Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood over the Leger trip, she prevailed next time in Group 3 company in the March Stakes. Stamina didn’t appear to be her undoing in defeat and with a win under her belt she’s earned a step up in class. She has already shown remarkable progression during the course of a long and busy season. Whether she can go from making her handicap debut this season off a mark of 67 to landing a Classic though has to be a question.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
1 Jun 2018:
15 May 2018:

Sean Boyce's Verdict

William Hill St Leger 2018

The late surprise decision to run LAH TI DAR has certainly added spice to the St Leger and I would not be surprised to see her go off favourite now for the race ahead of long term market leader Kew Gardens. There may be an element of over reaction at work here and it is possible that Kew Gardens will go off over-priced as a result. Capri ended up as big as 3/1 last year of course. On balance though, I would much rather be with John Gosden's exciting filly. Her Galtres Stakes win was stunning and she may have too much class for the colts on the big day. She is my selection.

The way that the race pans out is largely in the hands of one man: Aidan O'Brien. I'm fascinated to see how he deploys his troops for this race. I'd expect to see a Kew Gardens receive cover and a lead from one or more of his stablemates. One horse that I keep coming back to though is the rank outsider Zabriskie. What is he doing here? He can't be a pacemaker as he's routinely held up and looks extremely unlikely to lead. He was held up in the Dante and came through to run third. That's the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal campaign. I just cannot ignore his presence in another Classic though (he ran tailed off in the Derby in June). I, for one, will be risking a few each-way pennies at 100/1 or thereabouts.

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2017 Good to Soft 11 Capri 9 3 9 1 - 13-4361 77 days A P O'Brien R L Moore 3/1 3:04.04
2016 Good 9 Harbour Law 9 3 9 1 - 21124 65 days Mrs L Mongan (187 miles) G Baker 22/1 3:05.48
2015 Good 7 Simple Verse 1 3 8 12 - 631211 44 days R Beckett (212 miles) A Atzeni 8/1 3:07.15
2014 Good 12 Kingston Hill 4 3 9 1 - 111-824 70 days R Varian (128 miles) A Atzeni 9/4 3:05.42
2013 Good to Soft 11 Leading Light 7 3 9 0 - 41-111 85 days A P O'Brien J P O'Brien 7/2 3:09.20
2012 Good 9 Encke 1 3 9 0 - 21-123 24 days M Al Zarooni (128 miles) M Barzalona 25/1 3:03.81
2011 Good to Firm 9 Masked Marvel 3 3 9 0 - 16-5181 65 days J Gosden (128 miles) W Buick 15/2 3:00.44
2010 Good 10 Arctic Cosmos 8 3 9 0 - 4-13123 46 days J Gosden (128 miles) W Buick 12/1 3:03.12
2009 Good to Firm 8 Mastery 7 3 9 0 - 3-41332 25 days S bin Suroor (128 miles) T Durcan 14/1 3:04.81
2008 Soft 46 Conduit 5 3 9 0 - 31-3121 46 days Sir M Stoute (128 miles) L Dettori 8/1 3:07.92