Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse racing tips and the latest news.
KEW Gardens heads five entries for Aidan O’Brien in the final field of 12 runners for the Group 1 William Hill St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.
The sponsors make Kew Gardens the 15-8 second favourite behind John Gosden’s unbeaten Lah Ti Dar (7-4) for the final Classic of the season, which O’Brien won last year with Capri.
Like Capri, Kew Gardens will be the mount of Ryan Moore – who has ridden him in five of his six starts this season – and was aboard for each of his two victories this term, the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in July.
At his sole start since then, the three-year-old stayed on well to finish third, one and a quarter lengths behind fellow St Leger runner Old Persian (7-1) in the Group 2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last month, an effort that pleased connections.
“We were delighted with Kew Gardens at York,” O’Brien said. “It wasn’t ideal under the penalty but he had to have the run and we just thought that was the perfect place to give him his prep.
“Ryan was delighted with him, he obviously stays further and we always thought that Doncaster would suit him.
“He had one disappointing run and that was in the Derby (ninth) and he disappointed us a little bit at Lingfield (second) so maybe he’s a horse that just likes a level track.
“We rode him forward enough in the Derby too and maybe if we’d taken our time with him that might have suited him better.
“He has a lot of experience, and we’ve got a bit of time between now and the race and hopefully he stays well and we get him there.”
Doncaster clerk of the course Roderick Duncan is hoping the ground continues to dry out after some rain earlier this week: “Following 8mm of rain on Saturday, the going is now officially good to soft, good in places,” Duncan said on Monday. “There is a risk of some rain Tuesday into Wednesday morning, but it is forecast to be dry from Wednesday onwards.”
Odds (William Hill): 7/4 Lah Ti Dar, 15/8 Kew Gardens, 7/1 Old Persian, 8/1 Loxley, 11/1 Dee Ex Bee, 14/1 Southern France, 20/1 Raymond Tusk, 25/1 Maid Up, The Pentagon, 50/1 Nelson, Proschema, 100/1 Zabriskie.
|THE WILLIAM HILL ST LEGER STAKES (Group 1)
|Dee Ex Bee (GB)||3||9 1||Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum||Mark Johnston|
|Kew Gardens (IRE)||3||9 1||Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor||Aidan O’Brien|
|Loxley (IRE)||3||9 1||Godolphin||Charlie Appleby|
|Nelson (IRE)||3||9 1||Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith||Aidan O’Brien|
|Old Persian (GB)||3||9 1||Godolphin||Charlie Appleby|
|Proschema (IRE)||3||9 1||Empire State Racing Partnership||Tom Dascombe|
|Raymond Tusk (IRE)||3||9 1||Middleham Park Racing XXXI & K Sohi||Richard Hannon|
|Southern France (IRE)||3||9 1||Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor||Aidan O’Brien|
|The Pentagon (IRE)||3||9 1||Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor||Aidan O’Brien|
|Zabriskie (IRE)||3||9 1||Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd||Aidan O’Brien|
|Lah Ti Dar (GB)||3||8 12||Lord Lloyd-Webber||John Gosden|
|Maid Up (GB)||3||8 12||Brightwalton Bloodstock Ltd||Andrew Balding|
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