St Leger 2017: Boutique field line up for last Classic of the season

Capri ridden by Seamie Heffernan (left) before winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh_credit PA Images

St Leger entry Capri, ridden by Seamie Heffernan (left), before winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. Pic: PA Images (Courtesy of ARC).

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DONCASTER racecourse has described the going as soft, heavy in places ahead of the four day William Hill St Leger Festival which starts on Wednesday.

Heavy rain on Sunday night led to an amendment of the official ground description at the south Yorkshire track which stages the last Classic race of the season, the William Hill St Leger, on Saturday September 16.

“Following 16 millimetres of rain overnight on Sunday, the going is now officially soft, heavy in places,” Doncaster’s clerk of the course, Roderick Duncan, said this afternoon (Monday).

“We do expect a couple of windy days on Tuesday and Wednesday, however it is forecast to be dry from Thursday onwards, with temperatures of 17oC, plus.”

A maximum of 13 horses are set to contest the St Leger which this year carries total prize money of £700,000 after a new sponsorship deal with William Hill.

William Hill representative, Tony Kenny, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with this field for the William Hill St Leger on Saturday.  As is reflected in our prices, this is set to be one of the most competitive renewals in years.  We make Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean 3/1 favourite for the race following his win at Goodwood.”

Meanwhile Joseph O’Brien bids to become the first horseman for 48 years to both ride and train a British St Leger winner when he saddles 12-1 shot Rekindling on September 16.

O’Brien’s Rekindling has won three of his eight starts that includes two at Group level – the most recent a half-length victory in a Group 2 at the Curragh at his penultimate start in early July.

Rekindling returned to the same course in August for a Group 3 contest where he was beaten into second place by 2016 Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George.

The form was boosted when Order Of St George justified cramped odds to storm to a nine-length victory in the Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday and Rekindling looks a great each way bet at 12-1.

William Hill Prices for the St Leger Stakes: 3/1 Crystal Ocean, 4/1 Capri, 9/2 Defoe, 13/2 Stradivarius, 13/2 Coronet, 12/1 Raheen House, Rekindling, 14/1 Venice Beach, 25/1 Count Octave, Douglas Macarthur, 40/1 Abyssinian, 66/1 Air Supremacy, 6/1 The Anvil

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.