ALL THE NEWS FROM TODAY’S LADBROKES ST LEGER LUNCH AT THE SAVOY
Sir Michael Stoute, Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden, Michael Jarvis, John Dunlop & Barry Hills talk about their hopes for the 2007 Ladbrokes St Leger
THE 2007 LADBROKES ST LEGER
Class 1, Group 1, £500,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.10pm, Doncaster, Saturday, September 15. For 3-y-o only - entire colts and fillies. One mile, six furlongs & 132 yards. Weights: colts 9st; fillies 8st 11lb. Entries closed July 4, entries revealed July 5 (40 entries). Forfeit stage August 28 (14 remained), five-day confirmation & £40,000 supplementary entry stage September 10 (11 remain plus 1 supplementary entry received), final declaration stage 10.00am, September 13. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, September 9, 2007.
Form Horse Owner Trainer
1204 ACAPULCO (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
5-163002 CELESTIAL HALO (IRE) Jack Hanson Barry Hills
3112 HONOLULU (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
2(1)14241 LUCARNO (USA) George Strawbridge John Gosden
1-333 MACARTHUR Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
011015 MAHLER Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
1-1203 RAINCOAT Khalid Abdulla John Gosden
421-26011 REGAL FLUSH * Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
0-3232 SAMUEL Normandie Stud Ltd John Dunlop
12-1151 SOLDIER OF FORTUNE (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
0-120 SONG OF HIAWATHA Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
0-2(1)122 VERACITY Sheikh Mohammed Michael Jarvis
12 entries at five-day confirmation stage including one supplementary entry*
Those taken out today were Aqaleem, Speed Gifted and Yellowstone
LADBROKES PRICES FOR THE
2007 LADBROKES ST LEGER
Ladbrokes today have offered the concession of non-runner money back for the Ladbrokes St Leger, which is run at Doncaster on Saturday, September 15.
The latest Ladbrokes prices following today’s five-day confirmation stage are:
Regal Flush 12/1
Celestial Halo 50/1
Song Of Hiawatha 100/1
Soldier Of Fortune is a doubtful runner
Each-way: one quarter the odds first three
REGAL FLUSH ADDED TO LADBROKES ST LEGER FIELD
Regal Flush, the impressive winner of the Old Borough Cup at Haydock on Saturday, September 8, has been supplemented today for the £500,000 Ladbrokes St Leger at a cost of £40,000.
Sponsors Ladbrokes have introduced the colt into the Ladbrokes St Leger betting as a 12/1 chance.
The three-year-old Sakhee colt defied a 9lb rise in the weights as he swooped from last to first under Frankie Dettori to take the mile and three quarters Haydock Park handicap and book his place in the world’s oldest Classic at Doncaster on Saturday, September 15.
Having taken command inside the final quarter-mile, Regal Flush drew clear of a competitive field for a two-length triumph over Samurai Way.
The colt’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has saddled the runner-up in the Ladbrokes St Leger on five occasions and is hoping that the progressive Regal Flush can finally give him victory in the Town Moor Classic.
Sir Michael said today: “Cheveley Park Stud have allowed me to supplement Regal Flush this morning. I felt after his convincing victory on Saturday and the way he has progressed so nicely of late that it was worthwhile.
“Regal Flush gets the trip and he seems to have taken Saturday’s race well, though there is always a bit of a risk with the Ladbrokes St Leger just seven days after his last run.”
Champion jockey Ryan Moore will be reunited with Regal Flush at Doncaster on Saturday, having steered the colt to victory on the two occasions he has partnered him.
Regal Flush is on a hat-trick having landed the 12-furlong BGC Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on August 1.
The manner of his two victories this term suggest there is more to come from Regal Flush, who powered home fast and late under Moore at Goodwood to take the prestigious mile and a half handicap by three quarters of a length from Camps Bay.
“We know Regal Flush stays the trip and we thought we’d give it a go," added John Marsh, senior manager at Cheveley Park Stud.
“He was impressive on Saturday over the distance and Sir Michael had a discussion with (Cheveley Park Stud's owners) Mr and Mrs Thompson and decided to give it a go - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“He'll get every yard of the trip and we hope he gives a good account of himself."
AIDAN O’BRIEN - REVEALS LADBROKE ST LEGER PLANS
Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s champion trainer, interviewed on the telephone by Cornelius Lysaght who was introducing a Ladbrokes St Leger lunch at the Savoy in London, said today: “The plan is to run four - Honolulu, Mahler, Macarthur and Acapulco - in the Ladbrokes St Leger.
“I think Honolulu has improved with every run this year. He won a Listed race before he running well in the Ebor.
“We are very happy with him and his work since the Ebor.
“We are very happy with Mahler too. He won well at Royal Ascot and then had a gap right after so the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur was the prep on the way back and I am very happy with him.
“We know he stays well and he handles fast ground.
“If you look at Macarthur’s first two runs, he was always going to improve for the first and then he was very sore after the Derrinstown Derby Trial. That meant that he was off a long time before the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur in which he ran well. He has pleased me since.
“He’s a horse that we always thought had a lot of quality. He’s a good moving horse who will handle the ground and of course he’s by Montjeu.
“We are lucky that we have been able to be patient and give him time to progress. He is definitely going the right way.
“Acapulco had a long break after the Derby and should come on from his fourth in the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur.
“He will get the trip well and I am happy with him also.
“Mick Kinane needs to talk to his boss tomorrow but hopefully he will be on Mahler and Johnny Murtagh looks likely to ride Honolulu.
“Ryan Moore called after the Great Voltigeur and asked to ride Macarthur but now he is riding Regal Flush for Sir Michael Stoute, so we have booked Christophe Soumillon.
“Acapulco could be ridden by Seamie or Colm. It’s all up in the air but that is the general gist.
“The Ladbrokes St Leger is a very important race - a three-year-old Classic run on a very good track. I would love to be three on Saturday - it depends on the circumstances.”
JOHN GOSDEN - LUCARNO LIKELY TO JOIN RAINCOAT IN THE LADBROKES ST LEGER
John Gosden revealed this afternoon, via telephone from America’s Keeneland Sales, that Vodafone Derby fourth and Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Lucarno is set to run in the £500,000 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, September 15, alongside stable companion Raincoat.
The trainer, who won the world’s oldest Classic in 1996 with Shantou, said: “The likelihood is that Lucarno will run in the Ladbrokes St Leger. We will just look at the shape of the race before making a final decision
“He worked very nicely on Saturday morning with Jimmy Fortune. I am very happy with the horse. I will speak to Mr Strawbridge and his racing manager James Wigan.”
Gosden revealed that doubts about the Dynaformer colt staying the extended one mile, six-furlong trip. He said: “Lucarno is out of a fast mare and the extended trip is an issue, which is why we have been hesitant.
“The track will suit him well. Doncaster is a lovely galloping course and, because of the redevelopment, they will be racing on nice fresh ground, but that last two and a half furlongs is a little bit like going into no man’s land and you need to stay the trip. We have a very good jockey (Jimmy Fortune) who will be aware of that.”
Lucarno, who was unraced at two, took fourth behind Authorized in the Epsom Derby on only his fourth start. A runner-up finish in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and fourth to Papal Bull in the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket followed before the colt ran home strongly for a length victory over Yellowstone in the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August.
The trainer added: “He ran a blinder in the Derby for such an inexperienced horse and we were very pleased with him. The Newmarket race was probably a mistake.”
The Khalid Abdulla-owned Raincoat finished third, a length behind Yellowstone, on his most recent start in the Group Three Gordon Stakes over a mile and a half at Goodwood on July 31
Gosden reported: “It was a falsely run race at Goodwood last time. It was one of those where they might as well have started at the head of the straight and sprinted. He has been slightly forgotten by people. He was runner-up to Authorized in the Dante at York and ran really well there.”
Raincoat’s second place behind Authorized at York in May was followed by a disappointing effort when 1ith over an extended 10-furlongs at Chantilly in the Prix du Jockey Club, but Gosden believes the extra distance of the Ladbrokes St Leger will play to the strengths of his charge.
He said: “The Prix du Jockey Club was too sharp for him but we have had the Ladbrokes St Leger in mind for him for four months and I was very pleased with his work at the weekend.
“I have always liked the Ladbrokes St Leger. I used to go up to Doncaster with my father as a boy so I have always liked the place. The Ladbrokes St Leger has an important place in the calendar and is important to the thoroughbred breed.”
MICHAEL JARVIS - VERACITY
Newmarket trainer Michael Jarvis, who sent out Meadowville to finish second to Nijinsky in the 1970 St Leger, has a strong contender for the Ladbrokes St Leger this year in the shape of the progressive Veracity.
The Lomitas colt was unplaced on his sole start as a juvenile before easily winning at the second time of asking this year in a 12-furlong maiden on the Polytrack at Wolverhampton on April 24.
That victory was followed by another over the same distance in a Newmarket handicap on May 19, when he finished well to score by two lengths and showed that he might be suited by a step up in trip.
His next outing came over two miles in the Group Three Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot on June 22, when he finished runner-up to Mahler.
He again raced over two miles in the Group Two Goodwood Cup on August 2, when he took on the older generation for the first time. Veracity led entering the final furlong and looked to have the race in the bag, only for Allegretto to come with a strong late run to deny him by half a length.
Michael Jarvis said today: "Veracity has been in good form since Goodwood.
"He stays very well and is fit and well. The big question mark is whether he is good enough, but we will find out on Saturday.
"The drop back in trip shouldn't be a problem for him. Doncaster is a good galloping track and the Ladbrokes St Leger is nearly a mile and seven furlongs, so I think the trip on Saturday should be fine.
"I don't think Veracity wants the ground soft, but I wouldn't be adverse to a little easing in the ground for him.
"I suppose with all the controversy about watering recently, they may be a little wary about watering! Philip Robinson will ride."
SAMUEL AIMING TO BREAK HIS DUCK
ON THE CLASSIC STAGE
Arundel trainer John Dunlop is looking to the maiden Samuel as he bids to secure his fourth triumph in the £500,000 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, September 15.
The Normandie Stud-owned Sakhee colt showed that the extended mile and six furlongs at Town Moor will be no problem when posting the best effort of his career at Goodwood on August 25, with a runner-up finish to Tungsten Strike in the 14-furlong Listed Windflower March Stakes.
Samuel raced once as a juvenile without success and has progressed with each of his four starts this campaign without yet landing the spoils, including a close third to Tranquil Tiger in the Listed Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in July.
Dunlop, who has won the world’s oldest Classic with Millenary (2000), Silver Patriarch (1997) and Moon Madness (1986), said this afternoon at a Ladbrokes St Leger lunch at the Savoy: “Samuel is a maiden going into the race but it would be nice if he is not a maiden coming out of it.
“He will love the ground and the course. He Is a very nice, big horse who could still improve and I think the course at Doncaster will be much more suitable than Goodwood last time.
“There is a lot of speed in the pedigree but Samuel stays really well. He is the first foal of Dolores who was suited by seven furlongs and a mile and was a good one, and his sire Sakhee who I trained, although he won an Arc, had such speed that he was really a 10-furlong horse.
“Samuel has just done a good piece of work and he is a slow, maturing horse who will probably find tow or three too good. But we will cross our fingers and hope for the best as we do with every race.
“The Ladbrokes St Leger is a hugely important race and has been throughout its history.”
FRANKIE DETTORI TO PARTNER CELESTIAL HALO
Celestial Halo could provide a local winner on Town Moor on Saturday, as he is owned by Yorkshireman Jack Hanson. He will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who has ridden four Ladbrokes St Leger winners (Sixties Icon 2006, Scorpion 2005, Shantou 1996 and Classic Cliche 1995). The Galileo colt is trained by Barry Hills (successful with Moonax in 1994) and therefore represents the same owner/trainer combination as The Last Drop, who finished runner-up at 50/1 in the 2006 Ladbrokes St Leger at York.
Last year, Celestial Halo finished fifth on his one outing at York and made a winning return to action when landing a 10-furlong maiden by an impressive 13 lengths at Newcastle on April 14. His next outing in the Group Three Betfred Classic Trial at Sandown on April 28 saw him come home sixth behind Regime. That effort was followed by a trip to Chester where he was third to Soldier Of Fortune in the Group Three Chester Vase over a mile and half.
He disappointed on his next two starts at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood before returning to form when stepped up to a mile and three-quarters in the Melrose Handicap at York on August 23, when he was the two length runner-up to Speed Gifted.
Trainer Barry Hills said: “Celestial Halo will run on Saturday and Frankie Dettori takes the ride.
“His run last time showed he is a progressive horse and he would have an outside chance, but it looks to be a very hot race.”