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Friday, September 7, 2007


The Eoghan O’Neill-trained Ellmau is one of 84 horses going forward at the five-day stage for the first running of the lucrative Samsung £300,000 St Leger Two-Year-Old Stakes (3.45pm) over an extended six furlongs at Doncaster on Wednesday, September 12, which has massive prize money down to 10th place.

The Samsung £300,000 St Leger Two-Year-Old Stakes (3.45pm) is the highlight of a fantastic card on day one of the historic four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival. The seven-race card sees good entries for each race, with 30 horses engaged for the £30,000 Listed Scarbrough Stakes (4.20pm) over five furlongs.

Ellmau, a bargain 8,000 guineas yearling, is primed to put behind him a disappointing run when only fifth to Rio De La Plata in the Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on August 1, and return to the form that had previously produced an excellent third to Hatta Fort in the Group Two Weatherbys Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in July.

O’Neill revealed today: “Ellmau is an intended runner in the Samsung £300,000 St Leger Two-Year-Old Stakes and is in grand form.

“He had a bit of a setback after Goodwood. He was supposed to run in the Washington Singer at Newbury but coughed a couple of times before the race so we didn’t want to chance him, but he’s fine since he had a course of antibiotics and he’s flying away now.

“The coughing wasn’t related to his Goodwood run. I think he went off too fast that day and it was a bit of a mess really, so we’ll draw a line through that and forget about it. He’s a better horse than he showed that day. He’s a grand colt and he’s weighted quite nicely so hopefully he’ll run well.

“He’d prefer to get his toe in. He wants good ground and wouldn’t want it too quick because he’s such a big-actioned horse.”

The Dr Fong colt, who won a six-furlong Southwell maiden on his debut in May, has competed at seven furlongs on his last two starts and O’Neill will look to step him up in distance in the future, but in the meantime the lure of the massive Doncaster prize has tempted the trainer to drop his classy colt in trip.

He said: “I think we ‘ll probably go for the Royal Lodge at Ascot if all goes well. We’re stepping back half a furlong at Doncaster because of the prize. He’s won over six furlongs and has plenty of toe to compete. Ideally, I think he’s going to be effective over further in time.”

The Samsung £300,000 St Leger Two-Year-Old Stakes is for juveniles whose sires established one or more yearling sales in Europe/North America in 2006, as compiled by Weatherbys. Prize money extends to 10th place.

Weights carried by each horse are determined by the median price of its sire’s yearlings sold at the main public auctions in Europe/North America in 2006.

The maximum permitted field size is 22. The order of elimination will be made on the basis of BHA Handicap ratings. If horses do not yet have a rating, the BHA handicapper will make an assessment on the basis of the horse’s performances so far. Any unraced horses will be eliminated first.


Jon Pullin, Clerk of the Course at Doncaster, reported today: “The going is currently good to firm and we are watering.

“We will continue to water as the forecast is mainly dry for the next few days.

“Our aim is to start the meeting just on the easy side of good to firm. We will water through the meeting if necessary.

“The comments we received about the ground after the ISG Trial Day on August 17 were most encouraging and hopefully those that didn’t see it on that occasion will witness how well the track is riding for what is our most important fixture of the season.

“The grass was stripped off when Doncaster closed down in 2005 and some grading work was undertaken to level the track itself. It was then completely re-seeded.”


Jason Weaver will officially open the new Double Trigger Bar on the Ground Floor of the Leger Stand in the County Enclosure between 11.45am and 12 noon on Wednesday, September 12.

The former jockey, now a pundit on At The Races, partnered Double Trigger to success in 10 of the popular stayer’s 14 victories, including the Doncaster Cup in 1995 and 1996.

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