24 GO FORWARD IN SEARCH OF LADBROKES ST LEGER GLORY
CUMANI CONSIDERING SAVARAIN FOR DONCASTER CLASSIC
HILLS COULD BE REPRESENTED BY PROGRESSIVE DARAAHEM
This year’s £500,000 Group One Ladbrokes St Leger looks set to be another top-quality affair with 22 colts and two fillies going forward at the latest forfeit stage, details of which are revealed today, Wednesday, August 27.
With the last recognised trial for the extended mile and three-quarter contest, the Group Two Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes, having been run at Goodwood on Saturday following the abandonment of York’s Ebor Meeting, all eyes now turn to Doncaster to see who will triumph in the oldest Classic in the world on Saturday, September 13.
This year, the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes went to Centennial, who recorded a clear success over Ladbrokes St Leger hopefuls Top Lock, Scintillo, and Patkai, a performance that propelled the John Gosden-trained colt to the head of the betting with sponsors Ladbrokes, who rate him a 4/1 chance for Town Moor glory.
The son of Dalakhani may now bid to follow in the footsteps of last year’s Ladbrokes St Leger victor Lucarno and give Gosden back-to-back victories in the Classic, but will need to be supplemented for Doncaster glory at a cost of £45,000 on Monday, September 8.
While Patkai may have proved disappointing following his Royal Ascot success in the Group Three Queen’s Vase, Sir Michael Stoute still has a formidable challenge as he goes in search of his maiden Ladbrokes St Leger triumph, with Epsom Derby fourth Doctor Fremantle, Group Three Gordon Stakes victor Conduit and Warringah all going forward. Stoute has sent out 24 Ladbrokes St Leger runners, saddling the runner-up on no less than five occasions.
While Stoute is still seeking Ladbrokes St Leger glory, Saeed bin Suroor could bid for a fifth success in the race courtesy of Campanologist, who beat Conduit in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Kingmambo colt is set to try and emulate Godolphin’s previous St Leger scorers Classic Cliche (1995), Nedawi (1998), Mutafaweq (1999) and Rule Of Law (2004).
Luca Cumani is another trainer to have saddled a winner of the Ladbrokes St Leger, having been successful with Commanche Run in 1984. The Bedford House handler has engaged Savarain in this year’s race and could let the progressive colt take his chance, having seen him finish second on his last two starts in heritage handicaps at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.
Cumani said: “The Ladbrokes St Leger is definitely an option for Savarain and we will decide nearer the time whether we let him take his chance or not. He was entered to run over a mile and three quarters in the Melrose Stakes at the Ebor meeting but unfortunately the ground and the meeting went against him. He needs good going to be at his best.
“I am happy with the horse and I was pleased with his run at Goodwood. He will have no problem in stepping up in distance but the step up in class could be a problem for him.
“There’s no time to get a run into him before the Ladbrokes St Leger and there are no races for him either. We will decide nearer the time if he is ready to take his place in a Group One race.”
The Barry Hills-trained Daraahem was another who was forced to miss his intended target of the Melrose Stakes at York. The son of Act One posted a career best performance last time out on his first attempt over a mile and three quarters when easily winning a soft ground handicap at Haydock on August 7, and is set to step up to Listed company at Chester on Saturday.
Assistant trainer Charlie Hills hopes that a good display at the weekend will see the colt book his ticket for the Ladbrokes St Leger and bid to provide his father with another big-priced winner of the Classic, following the success of 40/1 shot Moonax in 1994.
Hills commented: “We’ve kept Daraahem in the Ladbrokes St Leger and we will decide whether to let him run after his run at Chester on the weekend. He would have to run well there but if he goes and wins then we would obviously have to consider running him at Doncaster.
“He took the step up to a mile and three-quarters really well on his last start at Haydock and he obviously stays the trip. He won in heavy ground there and we would prefer cut in the ground for him if he were to take his chance.
“The Ladbrokes St Leger would be a big ask but we’ve left him in and will have a look at the race nearer the time. If he comes out of Chester in good form, then we will seriously look at the race for him.”
Aidan O’Brien, who saddled Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005) to victory in the Ladbrokes St Leger looks set to have a strong hand in this year’s contest. The master of Ballydoyle had four runners in the race last season, including the second and third home, and has nine remaining entries as he bids for a fourth Classic success at Doncaster.
The champion trainer has engaged Epsom Derby fifth and sixth Washington Irving and Alessandro Volta, as well as Bashkirov and Hindu Kush, who all finished behind stablemate Frozen Fire in the Irish Derby.
O’Brien could also be represented by King Of Westphalia, Mikhail Fokine, New Zealand and William Hogarth, while the sole other Irish entry remaining is the Tommy Stack-trained filly Unsung Heroine, who made it two wins from as many starts with a convincing victory in a Group Three contest at Cork earlier this month.
The other remaining filly is Look Here, who gave trainer Ralph Beckett a maiden Classic victory when powering to a three and three quarter length triumph in the Epsom Oaks. The daughter of Hernando could bid to become the first filly to triumph in the St Leger since User Friendly completed the Epsom-Doncaster double in 1992.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda and owner Susan Roy teamed up for Ladbrokes St Leger success with Sixties Icon in 2006 and the same combination could this year team up with the unexposed pair of Checklow and Whistledownwind. Enroller and Maidstone Mixture are also among the 24 acceptors going forward.
50 GO FORWARD FOR URBAN-I CHAMPAGNE STAKES
This year’s £100,000 Group Two Urban-I Champagne Stakes, also run at Doncaster on Saturday, September 13, has 50 of the top male juveniles going forward after the latest forfeit stage, details of which are revealed today, Wednesday, August 27.
Last year, Mark Johnston saddled McCartney to victory in the seven-furlong contest and the Middleham trainer could be represented by Shaweel, who was a comfortable winner of the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes Newbury on Friday, August 22. Aidan O’Brien has eight remaining including Hail Caesar, Masterofthehorse, Westphalia, and Group Three scorer Rip Van Winkle. The Mick Channon-trained Orizaba, who was successful in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, also remains while other notable entries going forward include impressive debut winners The Cheka and Parisian Art, recent Group One Prix Morny runner-up Gallagher, and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Zacinto, the impressive eight-length winner of a Sandown maiden in July.
The ground at Doncaster is currently on the softer side of good, with the course having missed the majority of the rain that fell in Yorkshire last week. With a dry and warm weekend forecast and the possibility of some rain next week, Clerk of the Course David Williams is pleased with the condition of the track prior to the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival.
Williams commented: “The course is pretty much exactly where we would want it to be at this stage. It has recovered well from the racing earlier in the season and looks fantastic. With a changeable forecast for next week we will have to see how much rain we get, but with two weeks to go to the opening day, we are happy with where we are”.
THE LADBROKES ST LEGER
Class 1, Group 1, £500,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.10pm, Doncaster, Saturday, September 13. For 3yo only, entire colts and fillies. One mile, six furlongs & 132 yards. Weights: colts 9st; fillies 8st 11lb. Entries closed July 1, entries revealed July 2 (46 entries). Forfeit stage August 26 (24 remain), six-day confirmation & £45,000 supplementary entry stage Monday, September 8, final declaration stage 10.00am, Thursday, September 11. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, August 25, 2008.
Form Horse Owner Trainer
31-41646 ALESSANDRO VOLTA Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
4-530160 BASHKIROV Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
10-(1)13142 CAMPANOLOGIST (USA) Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
314 CHECKLOW (USA) Susan Roy Jeremy Noseda
0(3)(1)-3121 CONDUIT (IRE) Ballymacoll Stud Sir Michael Stoute
0-21031 DARAAHEM (IRE) Hamdan Al Maktoum Barry Hills
221-2144 DOCTOR FREMANTLE Khalid Abdulla Sir Michael Stoute
54-121564 ENROLLER (IRE) D Clarke & Clive Edginton William Muir
10-201 FROZEN FIRE (GER) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
05-4410 HINDU KUSH (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
5-03351445 KING OF WESTPHALIA (USA) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
1-21 LOOK HERE Julian Richmond-Watson Ralph Beckett
(0)-(5)(3)0(3)0 MAIDSTONE MIXTURE (FR) J E Wilson & T J Wilson Paul Murphy
302(5)-01 MIKHAIL FOKINE (IRE) Sue Magnier & Sangster Family Aidan O’Brien IRE
422(4)4-32 NEW ZEALAND (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
61-32114 PATKAI (IRE) Ballymacoll Stud Sir Michael Stoute
44-61622 SAVARAIN Ronchalon Racing (UK) Ltd Luca Cumani
231-00253 SCINTILLO White Beech Farm Richard Hannon
(1)43332 TOP LOCK David Brownlow Andrew Balding
11 UNSUNG HEROINE (IRE) Adahessonsplusone Syndicate Tommy Stack IRE
(6)-2412 WARRINGAH Philip Newton Sir Michael Stoute
4-22502 WASHINGTON IRVING (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
01-24 WHISTLEDOWNWIND Susan Roy Jeremy Noseda
64-30 WILLIAM HOGARTH Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
24 entries remain after August 26 forfeit stage
Latest Ladbrokes Prices: 4/1 Centennial (needs to be supplemented), 5/1 Conduit, 5/1 Look Here, 6/1 Alessandro Volta, 12/1 Unsung Heroine, 12/1 Top Lock, 14/1 Doctor Fremantle, 20/1 Campanologist, 20/1 Washington Irving, 33/1 Savarain, 40/1 Warringah, 50/1 King Of Westphalia, 50/1 Whistledownwind, 50/1 Scintillo, 66/1 Hindu Kush, 66/1 Bashkirov, 66/1 New Zealand, 100/1 William Hogarth, 100/1 Enroller, 100/1 Daraahem, 100/1 Mikhail Fokine, 1,000/1 Maidstone Mixture
NOT QUOTED: Checklow, Frozen Fire, Patkai
FIVE AND COUNTING AS DUKE HEADS CARTIER STANDINGS
The brilliantly indefatigable Duke Of Marmalade emphatically staked his claim for Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Older Horse honours with a comprehensive victory in the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, August 23.
Unbeaten in five starts this term, all at Group One level, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Danehill four-year-old took his points haul to 184 in clinching the 10-furlong contest by three quarters of a length from Phoenix Tower (80 points), trained by Henry Cecil, who was filling that berth for the fourth consecutive race.
Derby winner New Approach (92) pulled for his head in the early stages of the prestigious contest, which was re-routed to Newmarket following the abandonment of York, before finishing third, a further two and a half lengths behind the runner-up.
Jim Bolger’s charge, winner of the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt award last year, currently lies behind the O’Brien-trained Henrythenavigator (136) in the race for Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt honours.
Henrythenavigator, victorious over New Approach in both the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas, saw his claim for honours enhanced with the success of Raven’s Pass (74) in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday, August 23. The John Gosden-trained colt had finished second to Ballydoyle’s star miler in the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes on his previous two outings.
Tamayuz (72), trained by Freddie Head, appears to be the best three-year-old colt in France after clinching the Group One Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois over a mile at Deauville on August 17, a victory that followed a defeat of Raven’s Pass in the Group One Prix Jean Prat in July.
The ultra-game and classy Natagora, successful in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, chased home Tamayuz in that Deauville contest and has 84 points as she seeks to be crowned the leading Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly of 2008, having won the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award last year.
Pascal Bary’s grey is second only to the Bolger-trained Lush Lashes (88), who has now won Group One events at a mile and a mile and a half. The Coronation Stakes heroine, unlucky when runner-up to Halfway To Heaven (78) in the 10-furlong Nassau Stakes, slammed the opposition in securing the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks at Newmarket on August 23.
The division looks to be of a particularly high calibre with the top-class Goldikova and the exceptional Zarkava both on 72 points.
Marchand D’Or (48), who became the first horse to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest three times on August 10, remains in pole position in the Cartier Sprinter category having side-stepped the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, staged at Newmarket rather than water-logged York.
The French speedster saw his lead cut however, as the Robin Bastiman-trained Borderlescott (40) sprang a surprise in the five-furlong contest with a half-length defeat of crack South African mare National Colour.
Golden Jubilee Stakes victor Kingsgate Native (40) took third, whilst King’s Stand Stakes hero Equiano (44) was fourth.
The Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt division is beginning to take shape. Mastercraftsman (48) was thoroughly impressive when winning the Group One Phoenix Stakes from Art Connoisseur (32) and Bushranger (48) last month and that form was boosted at the weekend with the third being victorious in France.
The David Wachman-trained Bushranger showed his class in taking the Group One Darley Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday, August 24, by half a length from Gallagher (24).
The Bolger-trained Cuis Ghaire (20) shares the lead for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award with the Mick Quinlan-trained Langs Lash (20), but the pack is closing with the Wachman-trained Group Two Debutante Stakes winner Again, Group Two Lowther Stakes heroine Infamous Angel, trained by Richard Hannon, and the Paul Cole-trained Percolator all on 16 points.
The great Yeats (64), only the second horse to have won three Gold Cups at Ascot, remains top of the pile among the Cartier Stayers. Coastal Path (40), third to the O’Brien-trained seven-year-old at Ascot, was unable to make significant inroads when coming home only third to Ponte Tresa in the Group Two Darley Prix Kergolay at Deauville on August 24.
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant, commented today: “The season simply gets better. Duke Of Marmalade is a real superstar and no one can argue with five Group One triumphs in a so far unbeaten campaign.
“The clash with New Approach was eagerly anticipated and, although the three-year-old was put in his place this time, it may be that the Derby winner could yet prove to be a stern challenger to Duke Of Marmalade’s dominance, should they meet again.
“It was sad to lose York but it was good to see racecourses, sponsors and administrators pulling together to ensure the showcase events were staged and we were also rewarded with fantastic victories for the likes of Borderlescott and Lush Lashes, to name just two.
“The season is really bubbling as we head towards the autumn and the end of season championship clashes that will determine the destinations of the Cartier Awards for 2008. There is a lot of racing still to come, with Doncaster next on the radar, and there will no doubt be a number of twists and turns before the winners are revealed.”
The Cartier Racing Awards are now in their 18th year and celebrate the champions of the Turf, plus one person. European horseracing’s most prestigious accolades will be presented during a glittering ceremony before an invited audience at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday, November 17.
The coveted eight horse awards, horseracing’s equivalent of the Oscars, are determined by points earned in Pattern races combined with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists plus votes from readers of the Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph, a system which accurately rewards supreme excellence.
CARTIER TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY
CUIS GHAIRE 20
LANGS LASH 20
INFAMOUS ANGEL 16
CARTIER THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT
NEW APPROACH 92
RAVEN’S PASS 74
FROZEN FIRE 56
CARTIER OLDER HORSE
DUKE OF MARMALADE 184
PHOENIX TOWER 80
MARCHAND D'OR 48
COASTAL PATH 40
PONTE TRESA 22
ROYAL AND REGAL 20
MARCHAND D'OR 48
KINGSGATE NATIVE 40
WAR ARTIST 32
PADDY POWER A POSSIBLE FOR SILVERBURN
Leading owner Paul Green has said that he would “very much like to have another crack at the Paddy Power Gold Cup” with Silverburn, although he has warned that the first big chase of the new jumps season at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 15, may come a bit soon for the Paul Nicholls-trained chaser.
Silverburn, who has won Grade 1 races over both hurdles and fences, was last seen in action when fourth behind Albertas Run in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival.
Speaking from his Jersey home, Green said: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a possible target for Silverburn, but he might come back later in the season.
“He has been a pretty sick horse with so many difficulties and he has had a major breathing operation so it's a long way to come back for November with only two months in between.
“But I'm hoping that we can run him in the Paddy Power and having won it with Very Promising [in 1986], I would very much like to have another crack at it, although I'm not getting carried away and I wouldn't get too excited about him at this stage. Knowing Paul in the way that I do, I know that he won't be rushing him for the race.
“He's not done badly over the summer, although you never know how they'll be after a serious operation, and he's back at Paul's yard now. The most important thing is to get him fit and well and then he can come back and we'll have a lot of fun with him.”
The Presenting gelding's four victories have all come on going described as soft or heavy.
“Everybody says that he does need cut and when he won the Tolworth Hurdle it was bottomless, but he's won on ground close to good so I don't know,” explained Green.
“Unfortunately for him, he is Denman's full-brother and everybody looks to him being Denman, but he's not, although he is a very, very nice horse.”
Silverburn has never won over further than an extended two and a half miles, although he was third behind Joe Lively over three miles in last season's Grade 1 Nigel Clark Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton.
Green added: “His trip is as big a mystery to everyone as it is to us and there is a feeling that he doesn't get three miles, but we've yet to find out for sure as circumstances have not been right when he's run over three miles.
“We're still in the dark and he could be a two-mile champion chaser or he could be a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, but that could be a bit ambitious looking at the competition!”
Paddy Power spokesman Paddy Power said: “I'm starting to see various top jumps trainers hosting open days and already I'm starting to get excited about our big race. Amazingly the Pipes haven't won it for three years and David will be desperate to get on the scoresheet.”
Meanwhile Beyond Our Reach has proved popular with punters for Sunday's Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
Tommy Stack's juvenile, who finished third on her only previous outing in a Leopardstown maiden earlier this month, has been backed into 9-1 (from 12) with Paddy Power this morning. Again is 15-8 favourite with the world's friendliest bookmaker.