Our cor­re­spon­dent fan­cies Michael Stoute’s Crys­tal Ocean can wash his ri­vals away in a thrilling St Leger

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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

10/1 Bar

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.


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