William Hill St Leger Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting September 15

Look to Loxley to cause St Leger upset

Horse Racing Betting

The William Hill St Leger is the world’s oldest classic and appears to have re-established itself in recent year. Detractors had called for the distance of just short of 1m7f to be reduced to attract better horses but no-one could complain about this quality or quantity of last year’s line-up at Doncaster and there is another high-class entry this year, including a Group 1 winner and a Derby runner-up.

St Leger History

The William Hill St Leger is the oldest Classic in the world having first been staged in 1776. The race is named after sportsman and gambler Anthony St Leger, who lived at Park Hill near Doncaster and had the idea of a race for three-year-olds, with colts carrying 8st and fillies 7st 12lb, over two miles.

A field of six lined up for the inaugural St Leger with an unnamed filly by Sampson (later called Allabaculia), owned by Prime Minister the Marquess of Rockingham, beating Colonel St Leger’s unnamed filly by Trusty.

The Classic did not have a title until 1778, when Rockingham proposed that it should carry St Leger’s name, and the same year the event moved to the present site on Doncaster’s Town Moor, with the first two runnings having been staged on nearby Cantley Common.

Trainer/jockey John Mangle, known as ‘Crying Jackie’ for his habit of bursting into tears when beaten, won it five times in the 18th century. Champion, in 1800, became the first Derby winner to go on to St Leger glory, helping enhance the race’s stature. The distance was shortened to one mile, six furlongs and 193 yards in 1813.

West Australian became the first winner of the Triple Crown in 1853, a feat that only 14 other horses have achieved since, most recently Nijinsky in 1970. The legendary Ormonde was one of Fred Archer’s six St Leger winners. The First World War saw the St Leger run at Newmarket from 1915-1918, while during the Second World War it took place at Thirsk in 1940, Manchester in 1941, Newmarket from 1942-1944 and at York in 1945. The only year the St Leger was not staged was 1939 but it was moved temporarily to Ayr in 1989, when the ground was considered unfit on Town Moor, and to York in 2006 when Doncaster was being redeveloped.

Aidan O’Brien has won the St Leger five times previously with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003), Scorpion (2005), Leading Light (2013) and Capri (2017). He is responsible five of the¬†12 runners this year including the strongly-fancied Kew Gardens (a general 9/4). He has won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp and was conceding weight to the others when third behind Old Persian in the Great Voltigeur at York, normally a good St Leger trial. Aidan O’Brien’s string was also under a cloud at that time but is back firing on all cylinders now and connections have made not secret of the fact that this race has been is autumn target.

Lester Piggott won the Classic eight times but none of his winners was better than the Vincent O’Brien-trained Nijinsky in 1970.¬†Masked Marvel set a new course record in 2011, handing trainer John Gosden a third victory in five years and a fourth in all. Gosden’s other successes came courtesy of Shantou (1996), Lucarno (2007) and Arctic Cosmos (2010) and the Newmarket maestro saddles Lah Ti Dah this year.

There is no denying she is a filly of huge potential and it must have been a tough choice to go to Doncaster rather than wait for the Arc de Triomphe. She has won all of her three starts and was favourite for the Oaks until suffering a setback. Bred in the purple, she could not have been more impressive in the Galtres Stakes at York but this is a marked step up in both class and distance and there have to be a few concerns, though jockey Frankie Dettori is adamant that stamina won’t be a problem. However, the drying ground may not be ideal and she is short enough in the betting at 15/8 with Boylesports.

Old Persian will run his race and the 8/1 is probably too big but it might be worth taking a chance on the supposed Godolphin second string LOXLEY. It’s true that his only comparative failure this year came when venturing beyond 1m4f at Newmarket in July but he’s probably improved again since and beat this weekend’s rival doing handsprings in June. An apparent late developer, the general 10/1 looks a cracking each-way bet.

Behind Kew Gardens, The Pentagon (33/1 with Ladbrokes) may be best of the other Ballydoyle runners and the tough Maid Up has not been supplemented on a whim. She has proven stamina and can be backed at 25/1in several places. Derby second Dee Ex Bee keeps plugging away but he’s not got any closer to winning since Epsom and the 16/1 with Ladbrokes looks about right.

William Hill St Leger Current Best Odds

Lah Ti Dar 15/8, Kew Gardens 9/4, Old Persian 8/1, Loxley 10/1, Southern France 14/1, Dee Ex Bee 16/1, Raymond Tusk 20/1, Maid Up 25/1, The Pentagon 33/1, Nelson and Proschema 66/1, Zabriskie 100/1

(Odds Correct at 10.00am September 14)


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