It is 43 years since Nijinsky hacked up at Doncaster to win the race that would cement his name in racing history. It is 12 months since Godolphin’s Encke ended the Camelot fairytale. This weekend, the world’s oldest Classic does not have a Triple Crown bid on show. Nor has it been built up by massive hype. What the St.Leger does have, however, is a very competitive look to it.
The Ballydoyle team are double-handed. Both Foundry and Leading Light are towards the head of the betting.
Foundry is a very interesting runner. He finished second in the Great Voltiguer at York, a recognised Leger trial, behind the highly regarded Telescope. Ryan Moore takes the ride here and this unexposed 3 year-old could have plenty of improvement in him. He is 6/1 for the win on Saturday.
Leading Light, meanwhile, is unbeaten in three starts. Joseph O’ Brien has picked the Queen’s Vase winner over Foundry and that is likely to be reflected in the market.
Excess Knowledge represents John Gosden and was an eye-catcher at Goodwood earlier in the season. The son of Monsun finished second that day despite being badly hampered. The stable seems to like this race as Gosden has landed it twice in recent years, with Arctic Cosmos, also 2nd in the Gordon Stakes, and Masked Marvel.
Derby runner-up Libertarian also takes his chance here and can hopefully return to form after a poor display in the Irish Derby. He is a Dante winner and deserves respect.
Galileo Rock, also placed in this year’s Derby, currently heads the betting but could opt for a crack at the Irish equivalent on Sunday instead.
Cap O’ Rushes represents Godolphin and has been touted as a value bet by Racing Manager Simon Crisford. The race has been his target for some time and a bit of rain may help his cause. At 16/1 he could be a cracking each way bet.
The sole filly in the field is Oaks winner Talent. She disappointed last time out so it will be interesting to see if she can bounce back. The Oaks form received a much-needed boost on Thursday as the Lark was a very good winner of the Park Hill Stakes.
Foundry and Excess Knowledge appeal as the two very live contenders. It would be quite a story if Foundry could win a Classic on just his 3rd racecourse appearance. With arguably the best jockey on the planet on his back, and trained by the master, it may not be a huge shock if he were to prevail.
Elsewhere this weekend, the Curragh hosts the Irish St.Leger. Last year’s winner Royal Diamond takes his chance here. One noteworthy runner is Red Cadeaux. Ed Dunlop’s globetrotter comes here on the back of a good run at Newbury and boast’s each way claims. Galileo Rock should be thereabouts.
On the supporting card, there is a very interesting runner. The highly regarded Toormore represents the Richard Hannon yard in the National Stakes. The son of Arakan is unbeaten and looks to be a very bright prospect. He takes on recent Dundalk winner Giovanni Boldini here.
From the Classic action on Town Moor, to the eagerly awaited reappearance of Toormore, it looks set to be a massive weekend for horse racing.
Sport Is Everything. Jordan McCarthy.