Last year’s race
- Winner: Kew Gardens
- Jockey: R L Moore
- Trainer: A P O'Brien
- Owner: Mr D Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Mr M Tabor
- Age: 3 Weight: 9st 1lb
- Starting Price: 3/1
- Season Form Figures: 329113
- Previous Best: 1st - Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1), ParisLongchamp (July 2018)
With regards to the market for the world’s oldest classic first run in 1776, of the five British Classic races, it has been the St Leger that has been the most consistent in terms of churning out successful favourites over the last 27 runnings and by some margin with an over 50% strike (14/27).
We did have a surprise winner in 2016 though as Harbour Law was a trendsbuster on more than one score as he failed to finish in the first three on his previous start unlike 30 of the previous 34 winners and also joined Bollin Eric, Arctic Cosmos and Encke in the last 22 years as entering the contest without having won a Group race. Harbour Law was also breaking a big pedigree statistic as he is by Lawman whose Stamina Index is only 8.9f whereas the next lowest SI was 9.4 (Bollin Eric’s sire, Shaamit) in the last 31 years.
As many as 16 of the last 23 runnings have gone the way of Godolphin (6 wins), Aidan O’Brien (6 wins) or John Gosden (4 wins). Gosden’s impressive Voltigeur winner, Logician, looks set to start favourite this season ahead of the O’Brien’s Derby fifth Sir Dragonet and his Lonsdale Cup runner-up Il Paradiso so that record looks like being extended to 17 winners in the last 24 years.
The Great Voltigeur Stakes has become the principal guide having featured ten of the last 23 winners and all ten finished in the first four at York. The unbeaten-in-four Logician had Constantinople 1¾l back in second who in turn was 7l clear of Norway.
Kew Gardens won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last season before he won the St Leger emulating Leading Light who completed the same double for the yard. In addition Southern France placed in both races last season and Harbour Law placed in the 2016 running of the Vase before he won the Leger. The Queen’s Vase was cut in distance last season so should theoretically suit St Leger types more and was won back in June by Dashing Willoughby.
Six of the last 22 winners posted a top-five finish in the Irish Derby and Capri completed that double in 2017 having previously finished sixth in the Derby at Epsom, a race that has now featured nine of the last 22 St Leger winners.
The King Edward VII Stakes is also a notable guide with nine of the last 25 St Leger winners having taken part in that contest and that race went the way of the Irish Champions Stakes bound Japan. Six of the last 19 St Leger winners took their chance in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, four of which completed the double, but the 1-2 of Nayef Road and Constantinople look well held by Logician on subsequent Voltigeur form.
Fillies have four wins (Sun Princess, Oh So Sharp, User Friendly and Simple Verse), eight seconds (Diminuendo, Hellenic, Quiff, High And Low, Ramruma, Unsung Heroine, Talent and Lah Ti Dah) and three thirds (Untold, Roseate Tern and Look Here) from just 25 representatives since 1980. Lah Ti Dah was sent off favourite last season and only found the stronger-staying Kew Gardens too good.
At a glance summary
- A top four finish in the Great Voltigeur Stakes
- The favourite
- Trained by John Gosden or Aidan O’Brien
- Owned by Godolphin
- A top three finish in the Queen’s Vase
- Contested the Gordon Stakes, Derby or King Edward VII Stakes
- A top-five finish in the Irish Derby
- Failed to finish in the first three last time out
- By a Sire with a Stamina Index of under 9.4f