By Simon Jackson.
Connections of Storm The Stars hope to reap the benefits of a long-term plan when he contests Saturday’s £694,300 Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.
Storm The Stars was third to Golden Horn in the Investec Derby at Epsom in early June before finishing second to Golden Horn’s stablemate Jack Hobbs in the 150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby later that month.
The William Haggas-trained son of Epsom Derby winner Sea The Stars was then third in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in July before winning the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes over 12 furlongs at York in August.
And Maureen Haggas, wife of trainer William and the daughter of legendary jockey Lester Piggott, believes that the step up in trip to the extended one mile and six furlong distance of the St Leger will suit him.
“Storm The Stars is an easy horse from the point of view that every race he has run in he has given 100 per cent, he is a tough horse. He is not the easiest at home, as has been well documented, but if he performs well out on the track we will forgive him,” Maureen Haggas said.
“He is a tough sort. We don’t do much with him at home as he isn’t a horse that likes going to the gallops. Early on he wasn’t very well behaved and looked like he needed more education, so we kept running him to try and make him a bit more professional and bring him on. It doesn’t appear to have done him much harm.
“Hopefully, the step up in trip will improve him but you never really know until you actually go and do it. The signs are that he should be a better horse over a bit further but it is the end of a long, hard year and he has given us everything so far. If we could get one more big run out of him, that would be great but he doesn’t really owe is anything.
“I don’t know if he will stay in training next year. That will be up to his owner. It is hard after having a year like he has had to come back next year and compete in all-aged races as he has only been running against three-year-olds this year. If he can prove he is an effective stayer, then he will have the Cup races as option next year.
“From the Derby onwards, the St Leger was always the route we were going and dad [Lester Piggott] didn’t put us off that – he would certainly have told us if he didn’t agree. The St Leger was the obvious way to go as he is a galloper and the further he goes, the better he should be.”
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