Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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OTTOMAN Emperor’s impressive win at Goodwood enhanced his claims for the Cazoo St Leger Stakes at Doncaster on September 11.
The Johnny Murtagh-trained three-year-old secured a fourth consecutive win when landing the Grade 3 John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes over 12 furlongs, a first Qatar Goodwood Festival success as a trainer for the former top jockey.
Ottoman Emperor hit the front early in the straight under Ben Coen but had plenty in reserve to hold off all challengers and at the time of writing is priced at 8-1 (Paddy Power) for the St Leger.
Murtagh, who won all the major races at this meeting as a jockey, said: “Ottoman Emperor did it the hard way.
“Ben says he’s raced lazily all the way, but he’s like that, he’s a little bit babyish. You don’t know how good he is or how good he can be.
“He got to the top of the hill where he lost his balance a little bit and then he grabbed him and he came strong.
“Ben said he got to the front a bit too soon, but he wasn’t stopping when the others came to him. One thing about him is that he’s very genuine, very tough and he doesn’t stop trying.
“We came here to find out is he a mile-and-a-half horse? can he stay a mile and six? I think he answered a lot of questions today.
“We’d love to give him a shot at the St Leger next because it’s a very nice race and we’d love to have a live chance in it.”
Coen, celebrating a first success at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on his first ride at the course, said: “I was happy early on. He raced behind the bridle a little bit, but I couldn’t have asked him to go through the race any better.
“I got a bit unbalanced coming round the bend, so I gave him a kick to get going and got there way too soon. When Frankie came to me, he was never getting by me. Once he felt the other horse come up to him, he went again.
“He is a big, raw horse and still learning on the job. I haven’t got to the end of him yet, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming.
“I thought he would always give himself the best chance of staying due to the way he races. He is never keen or over-races. I thought he had a good chance of staying and I can see him getting further as well.
“I was hoping the ground would dry up. That is as slow as he would like it and the quicker the ground the better for him.”
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