2019 St Leger preview: Who to back at Doncaster
Chad Yeomans weighs up some of the leading contenders for the final Classic of the season and picks out a couple of longer prices further down the field.
The St Leger is the final Classic of the season, and the last leg of the English Triple Crown.
No horse has managed to complete the treble since Nijinsky in 1970 – though Camelot did go close when finishing ¾ of a length behind Encke in 2012 – and we’ve no contender this year.
Recently, it has paid to side with Aidan O’Brien, who has won the last two renewals and six overall.
Now it’s been confirmed that Constantinople won’t run after being sold to a third party in Australia to run in the Melbourne Cup, his main hopes this year seem to be the well-supported Sir Dragonet and Il Paradiso.
Sir Dragonet – who is a son of Camelot – burst onto the scene this year with a superb victory in the Chester Vase on just his second career start when trouncing the field by eight lengths.
In doing so, he rose to the head of the betting for the Derby a little under four weeks later, where he went off as 11/4 favourite. The chosen mount of Ryan Moore swooped into the lead coming down the hill but ended up being collared during the final few strides, finishing fifth but less than a length behind stablemate and eventual winner Anthony Van Dyck.
After a mid-season break, he returned to action at The Curragh in August, but was understandably beaten in the Royal Whip Stakes by race-fit horses.
Stablemate Il Paradiso isn’t far behind in the betting following an exceptional run behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup. However, I’d be inclined to ignore that performance as Stradivarius never wins by far and always likes to make his opponents think they’ve got a chance before stepping up a gear.
The current ante-post favourite is Logician , who has been given the green light to run a week on Saturday.
The unbeaten Frankel colt is four from four this season after taking the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes in impressive fashion last time out at York among handicap company – a race that has been the stepping stone for four of the last 12 St Leger winners.
That victory means he now has an official rating of 115, with nine of the last 17 winners falling between 108 and 115. He ticks all the right boxes, as does his jockey Frankie Dettori who has won this race on five separate occasions.
His connections were coy on the St Leger after his last outing so he must have impressed at home for his owner’s racing manager to confirm his entry comfortably before the five-day deadline.
Elsewhere, it’s amazing to think that Mark Johnston has never won this race given all the gritty stayers he’s produced.
Sir Ron Priestley is now looking a Group stayer in the making after winning five of six starts this season to take his rating from 86 to 108. He may fall slightly short against classier types, but is certainly worth a mention.
Further down the field, there are a couple who spark interest at bigger prices.
They include Buckhurst for Joseph O’Brien, who won the aforementioned Royal Whip Stakes against Sir Dragonet last month. If he improves for this step up in trip, then he could be one to keep an eye on.
The same goes for Dashing Willoughby for Betway ambassador Andrew Balding, who won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot when relishing the soft ground and staying trip.
He has been highly-tried in two starts since but hasn’t disgraced himself in Group company, and any rain that falls between now and next Saturday will be hugely welcomed. A slight concern is that 15 of the last 17 St Leger winners finished in the top three on their previous run, whereas he could only manage fifth last time out.
Whatever happens, it is certain to be a race to savour among an incredibly competitive field – so who will you be backing?
Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.