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O’Brien looking for fifth St Leger

 Sep 14 2017

Leading Light took Doncaster’s St Leger back in 2013 adding to earlier wins for O’Brien with Milan(2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005) and the trainer will send four runners in this year’s renewal to Town Moor.

Capri heads the list as he was a good sixth when tiring late in the Derby but stepped up considerably when winning in gutsy fashion ahead of Cracksman in the Irish equivalent. He loves soft ground, is tough and all his racing has suggested this trip should be well within his range.

Meanwhile Venice Beach has indicated all season in the very top races that he needs this trip. A winner of the Chester Vase, he didn't run his race in the Derby before a close Group 1 third in France and a second behind Cracksman in Group 2 Great Voltigeur.

There is added Australian interest from Aidan’s son Joseph as Rekindling, who is owned by Lloyd Williams, will bid to confirm his progression towards the elite level. He was no match for Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger Trial but still ran a fine second. He handles cut in the ground and is shaping into a very good stayer who no doubt will develop into a Cup horse next season.

The opposition to the Irish challenge is very strong from the home team with Stradivarius, Crystal Ocean and Defoe all standing out as serious players.

John Gosden’s Stradivarius has had a brilliant season, stepping up from handicap company to win the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before a dominant win over two miles when defeating Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. The drop in trip won’t be a problem with an emphasis on stamina on this galloping track.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean was third in both the Dante and King Edward before comfortably winning the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on soft ground. He’s lightly-raced and improving significantly with every run. The trip is a slight question mark against him and he will also be one who is likely to peak next season.

Defoe is unbeaten in four this season and has been very progressive for Roger Varian. He’s got a great attitude and he warmed up for this winning the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer on soft at Newbury ahead of the arguably unlucky Wall Of Fire (a Melbourne Cup hope).

Of the rest, Raheen House got a deserved second win when taking the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket following his fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes. He raced once on soft as a juvenile but has generally enjoyed better conditions since and this represents a big step up.

Watch the Group 1 St Leger from Doncaster live on Sky Racing 1 on Saturday night.

Richard Wade - Sky Racing

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