Snow Sky To Storm St Leger
The final Classic of the season in Britain takes place at Doncaster on Saturday courtesy of the Group 1 St Leger Stakes (3.50)
…an event in which Kingston Hill has been well backed into 5/2 to come home in front.
Roger Varian’s colt ran a career best when just over 1l behind Australia in the Derby at Epsom in June (1m4f, good) – Romsdal was 2l further back in third – before finding the step back to 1m2f in the Group 1 Eclipse too sharp.
This step up to 1m6f should be more to Kingston Hill’s liking, though with 9 of the last 10 Leger winners having avoided Group 1 company last time, there could be more value elsewhere.
One such runner who arrives at Doncaster having run in a Group 2 last time is Sir Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky (5/1), who kept on willingly in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York (1m4f, good to firm). Out of a dam who won over 1m5f,
Snow Sky looks sure to be suited by the extra distance, while it’s worth noting that 7 of the last 10 Leger winners had their last outing at either York or Goodwood.
Stoute also runs Kings Fete (14/1), who ran a decent trial for this when a 1l third in a Listed race at Goodwood last month (1m6f, good) – 1l behind John Gosden’s, Forever Now (14/1). The winner made all that day and has to be feared as his trainer won the Leger three times during the last decade, though sandwiched between the pair at Goodwood was Mark Johnston’s, Alex My Boy (14/1).
Gosden holds a decent hand on Saturday as he has Romsdal (6/1), who failed to kick on following his third in the Derby. Indeed, he trailed in a disappointing 7th (beaten 23l) when last seen in the King George VI at Ascot, and has something to prove – for the record, each of the last 10 Leger winners made the top three last time.
Johnston also has Hartnell (12/1), a 2m Listed winner at Royal Ascot, before winning a Group 3 over 1m5f, though he flopped in the Voltigeur at York when beaten 15l and is another with a bit to prove.
10 made the top three last time
10 were beaten no more than 5l last time
9 moved up from Group 2 or 3 last time
9 won during last three runs
8 were officially rated 109-115
7 arrived via Goodwood or York
J Gosden won it 3 wins, A O’Brien 2 wins, S Bin Suroor 2 wins
Elsewhere, Richard Hannon runs Windshear (7/1), who was touched off just 1/4l in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood six weeks ago (1m4f, good to firm). Windshear finished very strongly at Goodwood, and as a half-brother to a 2m winner, has to rate excellent each-way value.
Big odds backers will be encouraged that three of the last five Leger victors returned at 25/1, 14/1 and 12/1, and one attractively priced in that bracket is Andrew Balding’s Scotland (20/1), who was only beaten just over 2l behind Snow Sky at Goodwood. It was a similar story when staying on into third in a Group 2 at Royal Ascot (1m4f, good to firm), and this galloping type may just be suited by this race. The question is: will punters be saying yes or no to Scotland?
Sir Michael Stoute last won this race in 2008, and could be in for another memorable day via Snow Sky, who ran an excellent trial at York, and whose breeding suggests this longer trip could suit.