Our correspondent fancies Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean can wash his rivals away in a thrilling St Leger
Charlie’s Leger fancy is Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean
The final Classic of the season looks a potential cracker with recent trial winners Crystal Ocean, Defoe and Stradivarius all set to meet in the William Hill sponsored St Leger at Doncaster. Stradivarius could be one of a handful for trainer John Gosden,who bids to claim a fifth classic on Town Moor.
Stradivarius lowered the colours of Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup at last month’s less than Glorious meeting although he was receiving plenty of weight (13lbs) from the Michael Bell horse on ground less than ideal for the Ascot Gold Cup winner.
Stradivarius had previously won the QueensVase,now over the Leger distance of 1m 6f,and he is clearly a most progressive stayer.
Gosden is likely to be doubly represented at Town Moor with Coronation Stakes winner and subsequent Yorkshire Oaks runner up Coronet who was no match for stablemate Enable at York but looks to be crying out for a step up to this extended mile-and-three-quarters.
The lightly-raced Crystal Ocean entered Leger calculations when winning the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in the manner of a most progressive colt for Sir Michael Stoute who often targets that particular event with his best staying three-year-old.
It is well documented that Stoute has only won the final Classic of the season once previously but it is perhaps signifi- cant that Conduit back in 2008 won the corresponding Goodwood contest before Doncaster glory. At 7/2 with BetVictor he gets the each way vote although his stamina for the additional couple of furlongs is not exactly guaranteed.
St Leger prices from BetVictor Capri 7/2 Crystal Ocean 7/2 Stradivarius 4/1 Defoe 7/1 Coronet 8/1
Ballydoyle’s Capri is vying for favouritism after the son of Galileo beat subsequent facileYork winner Cracksman in the Irish Derby and that is the best form on offer.The concern, however, is that the Classic winner was due to lock horns with Cracksman atYork in the Gt Voltigeur but missed the gig through injury. Connections face a race against time to get the grey to post.
Gosden confirmed that Cracksman would miss the Classic and his main endof-season target was likely to be either the Champion Stakes or Arc de Triomphe. The colt really did look to be making up into a top class performer on the Knavesmire and,if there is to be a danger to our antepost Arc selection Enable – once again so impressive in theYorkshire Oaks last month – I wonder if the enemy lies within her own stable.
Defoe may not have beaten a great deal when winning the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last month but he has picked up the wonderful winning habit. Roger Varian, who saddled the Leger winner courtesy of Kingston Hill in 2014, has placed his colt wonderfully well this term and who knows where his improvement will end.
That said the suggestion is that he lacks a touch of class for Doncaster although it would be no surprise to see him take in many of the Cup races in the seasons to come.
Crystal Ocean’s pedigree does not cry out stayer but he is taken to give Sir Michael Stoute a second classic winner at Doncaster.