Last year’s race
- Winner: God Given
- Jockey: J P Spencer
- Trainer: L M Cumani
- Owner: St Albans Bloodstock Limited
- Age: 4 Weight: 9st 5lb
- Starting Price: 5/1
- Season Form Figures: 41243
- Previous Best: 2nd - Lancashire Oaks (Group 2), Haydock (July 2018)
A Group 2 race for fillies and mares over the St Leger trip, Ralph Beckett has trained two of the three winners (and also saddled last season’s third for good measure) underling what a fine trainer he is of fillies and mares. Luca Cumani saddled his sixth winner of this prize last season before his retirement so now leading the way of current-day handlers with four successes is Sir Michael Stoute. Of the Irish-based trainers, Aidan O’Brien has yet to record a winner and saddled two more unplaced fillies last season but John Oxx has been responsible for two seconds, a third and a fourth with his last four runners stretching back to 2001.
Four-year-olds fared very well in the 1990s but winners of the last 20 renewals have been shared ten apiece between three-year-olds and older fillies and mares. Only two mares aged 5+ have won since the race was opened up to elders in 1991 but it is hard to treat that as a negative particularly as they would also be comprehensively outnumbered.
As for the older fillies and mares, the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood has been their (and the race’s) best guide with four winners of that Group 3 race doubling up here.
With regards to three-year-olds, The Lark became the third Oaks runner to win since 2006 (Rising Cross and The Miniver Rose being the others) during the same season to have contested the Oaks when going two places better than at Epsom. As for the Ribblesdale Stakes, four fillies that finished in the first four in that Royal Ascot Group 2 prize in the last 27 years went on to win here.
As for the older fillies and mares, the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood has been their (and the race’s) best guide with four winners of that Group 3 race doubling up here. God Given was also fourth at Goodwood before winning here last season and the 2015 Lillie Langtry was won by Simple Verse who won the St Leger instead or that would surely have been five. A year later she then contested the Park Hill as a four-year-old and took the honours. This season’s Lillie Langtry was won most impressively by Enbihaar.
Over a longer period of time, we must also respect the Sir Henry Cecil & EBF Galtres Stakes with five winners in the last 25 years (all finished in the first four at the Ebor Meeting) and this season was won by in runaway style by Search For A Song.
The Lancashire Oaks, won this season by Enbihaar, featured last season’s Park Hill 1-2 with God Given reversing Haydock placings with Horseplay. That means that six Park Hill winners since 1992 posted a top-five finish in that Group 2 event. Also-rans from the Yorkshire Oaks must also be considered dropping down in class as six of the last 24 Park Hill winners ran in that Group 1 event on the Knavesmire and all six finished unplaced.
At a glance summary
- Ran well in the Lillie Langtry Stakes (notably the winner)
- Unplaced in the Yorkshire Oaks
- First four in the Galtres Stakes, Lancashire Oaks or Ribblesdale Stakes
- Ran creditably in the Oaks
- Trained by Ralph Beckett, Sir Michael Stoute, Luca Cumani or John Oxx