Sunderland Echo - - Racing -

Stradi­var­ius has be­come a lit­tle bit of a for­got­ten horse in the Wil­liam Hill St Leger, but he can make his pres­ence firmly felt at Don­caster by lift­ing the fi­nal Bri­tish Clas­sic of the year to­mor­row.

John Gos­den’s charge has been on a stel­lar tra­jec­tory this year, win­ning off a mark of 78 at Bev­er­ley be­fore go­ing on to add a Royal As­cot tri­umph and Group One hon­ours.

He lines up at Don­caster on a rat­ing of 116, which does give him a bit to find with Ir­ish Derby hero Capri, but it was hard not to have been im­pressed by his stay­ing cre­den­tials as he just edged out Gold Cup hero Big Or­ange in the Good­wood Cup last time.

Ad­mit­tedly, he had a chunky pull in the weights that day, but the way Stradi­var­ius picked up from off the pace cer­tainly caught the eye and he clearly has the heart for a fight af­ter out­bat­tling one of the tough­est horses in train­ing.

While that vic­tory came over two miles, Stradi­var­ius’s pre­vi­ous suc­cess in Royal As­cot’s Queen’s Vase shows a mile and six fur­longs holds few fears as he picked off the re­op­pos­ing Count Oc­tave in the fi­nal fur­long, with pos­si­bly a lit­tle more in re­serve than the neck ver­dict sug­gests.

Gos­den set his sights on this race some time ago with Stradi­var­ius and, given the New­mar­ket han­dler has won three of the last 10 re­newals, he ob­vi­ously knows a Leger can­di­date when he sees one.

Any dry­ing of the Don­caster ground would be in his favour, but Stradi­var­ius nev­er­the­less makes plenty of ap­peal.

Dream To­day made quite an im­pres­sion when win­ning the Con­vivial Maiden at York last month and he can se­cure a quick dou­ble in the Howcroft In­dus­trial Sup­plies Cham­pagne Stakes, de­spite the swift and size­able step up to Group Two com­pany.

Mar­tyn Meade’s Aclaim hit the cross­bar at Group One level in France last time but can fi­nally get his head in front in the Alan Wood Plumb­ing And Heat­ing Park Stakes.

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