"Sell in May and go away, come back on St Leger Day." A sage piece of advice from the English aristocracy who thought it wiser to spend the summer away from the city, no doubt indulging in more noble leisure pursuits including betting on the outcome of horse races instead of stocks. Clearly, they were
"Sell in May and go away, come back on St Leger Day."
A sage piece of advice from the English aristocracy who thought it wiser to spend the summer away from the city, no doubt indulging in more noble leisure pursuits including betting on the outcome of horse races instead of stocks. Clearly, they were on to something.
Anyone following that advice would have snaffled a small profit following the FTSE100’s drop off, and fresh from landing a few winners ourselves at Epsom, Royal Ascot and Goodwood in the same timeframe, we head north to Doncaster for the last Classic of the season in the shape of the aforementioned William Hill St Leger.
Run every autumn since 1776, the oldest of the five Classics is also the longest in trip, over one mile six furlongs, two more than the Derby, making the final leg of the English Triple Crown along with the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
There’s £743,000 at stake – a considerable increase from the eight guineas first offered in 1776 – and master trainer Aiden O’Brien, who has won the contest twice in recent years saddles long-term favourite Kew Gardens as he bids to overcome a poor summer for him, relative to his usual record-breaking standards. However, his position at the top of the market has now come under threat from unbeaten filly Lah Ti Dar owned by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who has diverted her to Donny having originally intended to run her at Longchamp. Frankie Dettori takes the ride once again in a race he’s won five times, but not since 2008.
As always we’ve got the full rundown on the big race, as well as tips for the supporting card. And remember to keep the stakes sensible, as anyone who took the plunge on hot favourite Camelot in 2012 will tell you after the 1/3 jolly was turned over by 25/1 shot Encke, who subsequently failed a drugs test.
William Hill St Leger
3.35pm Doncaster (one mile six furlongs)
The betting suggests this is a two-horse race between ante-post favourite Kew Gardens and Lah Ti Dar, a late entry following her devastating ten-length victory at York in August. Aiden O’Brien’s runner, one of five for him in the race, is already proven over the extended trip having won the Group Two Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, but preference is for the unbeaten filly Lah Ti Dar, who looks open to the most improvement. As for the rest of the field, Dee Ex Bee has been mixing it in top-class company all season, including the English and Irish Derbies, and has always looked like being suited to a longer trip, so he makes the each-way shortlist for Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston.
St Leger tips:
Win – Lah Ti Dah (2/1)
Each-way bet – Dee Ex Bee (12/1)
St Leger stats:
* Four of the last 12 winners have been favourite or joint favourite at the off.
* Irish Derby form is useful, with six of the last 21 winners coming in the top five in the Irish Classic.
* Four of the 23 fillies to run in the race since 1980 have won, with Simple Verse the most recent in 2015.
Supporting card tips:
1.50pm William Hill Portland Handicap (five furlongs)
A wide-open sprint can go to Open Wide (10/1) for top jockey Andrea Atzeni, having run a good second at Ascot just a week ago.
2.25pm Alan Wood Plumbing & Heating Park Stakes (seven furlongs)
A favourite of this column Breton Rock (11/2) is given another chance following a series of respectable performances this summer and the hope is that he can improve on his fifth place in the same contest last year. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Unfortunately (12/1), who is stepped up in trip from sprinting distances with Frankie Dettori taking the ride.
It looks impossible to oppose Too Darn Hot (1/2), who can kick off a big 40 minutes for the same owner, trainer and jockey of our St Leger tip, Lah Ti Dar. Given the likely short odds on offer, a small bet on Van Beethoven (14/1) to chase the favourite home looks to be the way to go.
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