Tag Archive for: St Leger

Hannon eyeing end-of-season options for Mojo Star

Mojo Star is likely to be given one more opportunity to bag a major prize this season after another fine Classic effort, this time in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Richard Hannon’s charge found only Adayar too strong in the Derby at Epsom in early June, after which he finished a slightly disappointing fifth in the Irish Derby at the Curragh, enduring a rough passage in the race.

But following a confidence-boosting win in maiden company at Newbury last month, Mojo Star bounced back to his best to fill the runner-up spot behind Hurricane Lane in the world’s oldest Classic on Town Moor.

The Sea The Stars colt has the option of taking on Adayar and potentially Hurricane Lane once more in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while he is also entered in the Qipco Champion Stakes and the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.

Hannon said: “He’s come out of the race fine and he’ll probably run again (this year).

“I haven’t discussed it yet with the owner. He (Mojo Star) has had a couple of days off out in the pen, so we’ll see.

“He has loads of options. He’s entered in races abroad and here – he’s in the two-mile race on Champions Day.

“It’s all about next year, but he will have one more run this year.”

Armor winning the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood
Armor winning the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Hannon was out of luck in the Group races at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival, with high-class juveniles Armor and Lusail finishing second and fourth in the Flying Childers and Champagne Stakes respectively.

The pair could now meet in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday week.

“Armor ran a terrific race, and Lusail just doesn’t act on that ground – he was just wheel-spinning the whole way,” Hannon added.

“I thought Armor had the Flying Childers won, so I was gutted to get beat. He just got nailed on the line, but that’s how it goes.

“Both of them might have a go in the Middle Park. It just depends on ground.”

Hurricane Lane storms to Leger glory

Hurricane Lane ran out a deeply impressive winner of the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris winner was sent off the 8-11 favourite on his step up to an extended mile and three-quarters on Town Moor.

Ridden with restraint through the early stages as Hollie Doyle and Interpretation set a fair gallop, Hurricane Lane was clearly travelling with ease at the top of the straight.

Mojo Star was the first to go for home, but Buick had the move covered and Hurricane Lane lengthened and soon grabbed the lead.

His change of gear proved decisive as he stretched clear in the final furlong to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

Mojo Star was second – as he was in the Derby when Hurricane Lane was third – with The Mediterranean third.

Buick said: “He’s a jockey’s dream, he’s a lovely horse to ride – you can put him anywhere in the race and he relaxes which is obviously vital in a race over this distance.

“What’s impressed me in his last two or three runs is that he quickens towards the end, he really did put the race to bed then. He’s a fantastic horse and I’m sure there’s more room for improvement.

“We had a lot of confidence in him. He was giving all the right signs coming into the race.

“It’s fantastic (to win the race). These horses, they need to be cherished while they’re around.”

William Buick donned the winning rider cap after the St Leger
William Buick donned the winning rider cap after the St Leger (Mike Egerton/PA)

Buick added: “We went just a steady gallop, not a mad gallop, nice and even, the field was compact.

“It was very smooth, I was where I wanted to be throughout really.”

The rider could now face a tough choice if both Hurricane Lane and Derby hero Adayar both line up in next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Paris Longchamp.

Buick said: “Obviously one has just crossed the line so I won’t be rushing into a decision and we’ll have to see how he comes back first.

“This lad has only lost one race in his life and Adayar has won the Derby and King George.”

The Godolphin team with the Leger trophy
The Godolphin team with the Leger trophy (Mike Egerton/PA)

Appleby was delighted to win a first Leger, which is the oldest British Classic having first been run in 1776.

He said: “It was a fantastic performance. Congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin. It’s great to win any Classic but to win the final Classic, it’s historic, so it’s extra special.

“William said it was a dream race. He had the perfect pitch and all the room he needed and the great thing about this horse is he quickens. He’s got a gear change. You couldn’t have been more comfortable watching it all the way round.

“The ground isn’t key to him, but he is more comfortable under these conditions on the slower side.

“I thought it was a great performance and Derby form was franked as well with Mojo Star running a great race. It’s got strength in depth which is what we want to see in a Classic.

“This horse has given us a couple of days where he has challenged us. He’s a boy. He likes to do things his own way in the mornings sometimes.

“He takes a bit of managing just to get his shoes on in a morning.”

Appleby is unsure on his Arc plans at present, but a trip to France is certainly not off the table.

He added: “The Arc is on everybody’s mind. I’ve spoken to His Highness. Everyone is delighted and I think it is something we will keep an eye on, but let the dust settle. I see no reason why we wouldn’t potentially turn up.

“As for next year with him and (Derby winner) Adayar, that is for everyone to talk about towards the end of the season after the Arc.

“His Highness is such a great sporting man and he loves to see his horses stay in training. We have seen so many of the greats from Godolphin down the years and I’m just fortunate I’m bringing a couple of them along myself.”

Mojo Star is set for a Cups campaign next year
Mojo Star is set for a Cups campaign next year (John Walton/PA)

Richard Hannon has his sights set on a staying campaign next year for Mojo Star.

He said: “He’s such a lovely horse and to finish second again is the worst feeling.

“He’ll only get better as he goes further and he stays in training next year.

“Once we get past the original disappointment of finishing second, we’ll take it all in.

“He’ll get two and a half miles next season no problem, so Ascot will be the plan.

“He stays strongly, but he’s got a touch of class and he’s proved his Irish Derby run to be all wrong, when he nearly got knocked over.”

Hot favourite Hurricane Lane out to deliver Godolphin’s seventh St Leger

Hurricane Lane is set to go off the short-priced Cazoo St Leger favourite as he seeks to give Godolphin a seventh victory in the Doncaster Classic.

Classic Cliche carried the famous royal blue silks to victory back in 1995 – and further success has followed with Nedawi and Mutafaweq in 1998 and 1999, Rule Of Law in 2004, Mastery in 2009 and Encke, who denied Camelot the Triple Crown in 2012.

Victory will draw Sheikh Mohammed’s operation level with Archibald Hamilton, the 9th Duke Of Hamilton, who was one of the earliest winners of the world’s oldest Classic in 1786 with Paragon.

Hurricane Lane began this season somewhat under the radar, with just a Newmarket novice win to his name – but in winning the Dante, the best trial for the Derby, he announced himself as a major player.

Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the St Leger on Classic Cliche
Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the St Leger on Classic Cliche (John Giles/PA)

While he met with his first defeat when third to stablemate Adayar at Epsom, he has since won the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris to mark himself out as a top-class colt.

Trainer Charlie Appleby is confident of securing his first St Leger success, telling www.godolphin.com: “This has always been Hurricane Lane’s objective since the Grand Prix de Paris, and his preparation has gone well.

“He has consistently improved with every start this year and looks a lot more mature physically and mentally compared to earlier in the season.

“He is the class horse in the race and looks the one to beat.”

Hurricane Lane’s rider William Buick has enjoyed previous success in the Doncaster showpiece, winning back-to-back renewals on Arctic Cosmos and Masked Marvel for John Gosden in 2010 and 2011.

“It’s a race I always look forward to, and Hurricane Lane goes there with a good profile,” said Buick.

“He’s only been beaten once, in the Derby behind Adayar, and that was a good run in itself. Hurricane Lane’s form before and since is rock solid, and he’s really shown his quality in the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris – where he was spectacular.

“The way he finished off both races suggests there ought not to be a problem with the trip, but you never know until you try it.

“With his run style and his breeding, you would imagine he would stay as well as anything else would, and he’s got the quality, but I’ve ridden non stayers before in the race who I thought would get the trip.”

High Definition needs to bounce back to form
High Definition needs to bounce back to form (PA)

Like Godolphin, Aidan O’Brien already has six St Leger victories on his CV – and fires a four-pronged assault in search of his seventh.

The Ballydoyle maestro’s chief hope appears to be High Definition, who spent the winter months as favourite for the Derby, but is winless in three starts this season.

The Galileo colt made a promising enough start to his campaign when third behind Hurricane Lane in the Dante, but missed Epsom after a setback and has since failed to fire in either the Irish Derby or the Great Voltigeur at York.

O’Brien said: “High Definition had a little slip in the Irish Derby when he stumbled and he just lost his confidence a bit. York was his first run back after that, and we were happy with his run there and we thought he would come on mentally for it.

“He’s a horse we’ve always thought that he could get further than a mile and a half.”

Frankie Dettori, also bidding for a seventh Leger success, rides High Definition for the first time, and said: “He was Derby favourite for six months and is kind of the forgotten horse.

“His Dante run wasn’t too bad over a mile and a quarter – he was two lengths behind the favourite (Hurricane Lane).

“Hopefully he will relish the distance.”

O’Brien’s squad is completed by Interpretation (Hollie Doyle), Sir Lucan (James Doyle) and The Mediterranean (Wayne Lordan).

Interpretation winning at Leopardstown
Interpretation winning at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

He added: “They all seem to be well. The Mediterranean is in good form, and he ran very well at York the last day. We’ve been happy with him, and it looks like he might stay a bit further.

“Sir Lucan is well – he ran well at Goodwood and wasn’t beaten far at York as well. Frankie just thought a little bit more cover might have suited him, but he still ran a nice race.

“Interpretation has been gradually progressive and he looks like he stays very well – he’s a very relaxed horse. Hollie rides after having a couple of rides for us at York this year.”

Johnny Murtagh surprisingly never won this Qipco British Champions Series contest during his illustrious riding career, but has strong claims of breaking his duck in it as a trainer with the improving Gordon Stakes winner Ottoman Emperor.

“I never rode the winner of the St Leger, although I didn’t ride in it that often, so to win it now as a trainer would be massive,” said Murtagh.

“He’s a horse that has been on the improve all season. He came out of Goodwood well and he’s unexposed.

“He has a chance, but he has to stay the distance – it’s a tough race at Doncaster for the three-year-olds.

“Having said that, he’s on an upward curve, and we’re excited about the weekend.”

Mojo Star finished in front of Hurricane Lane in the Derby, but behind him in the Irish version, when he had excuses.

Mojo Star winning at Newbury
Mojo Star winning at Newbury (John Walton/PA)

Richard Hannon has since taken him to Newbury for a confidence-boosting win.

“The flat, galloping track will suit. He was probably soundly beaten at the Curragh – but we almost got knocked over, and it took him a long time to get going,” said Hannon

“The extra two furlongs will suit him much more. He’ll get the trip. It will be more to his liking – the harder they go, the more it will be to his liking.

“He ran a very good race in the Derby. He’s not the one to beat, but he’s been underrated and deserves to take his chance.”

Tom Marquand after winning the Chester Vase on Youth Spirit
Tom Marquand after winning the Chester Vase on Youth Spirit (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Youth Spirit won the Chester Vase for Andrew Balding back in May, and has been on the premises in several big races since.

He will be ridden by Tom Marquand, who won the race last year on Galileo Chrome.

“Youth Spirit didn’t run up to expectations in the Derby, having won the Chester Vase, but he’s come back in good form following a rest and has run superbly since at Goodwood and York,” said the jockey.

“I think he’s entitled to be involved, and he’s about twice the price of horses whose form he ties in really well with. He’s one I’m looking forward to.”

Racing Insights, 11th September 2021

The weekend is almost here and Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report which has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.

As always, we also have a selection of full free racecards open to all readers and for Saturday, they are...

  • 2.40 Bath
  • 3.00 Doncaster
  • 3.35 Doncaster
  • 4.25 Chester
  • 5.00 Bath
  • 6.50 Musselburgh

The second of the two from Doncaster is the St. Leger and I'm sure that better analysts than I will be tackling this race elsewhere and here on Geegeez too, but I think it would still be a worthwhile exercise to see if the toolkit backs up their assessments, so it's the 3.35 Doncaster for us today. It is, of course, the St Leger, a Group 1 race for ten 3 yr old ungelded runners over 1m6½f. The ground is expected to be good to firm (good in places) and top prize is a whopping £421,355.

Hurricane Lane is expected to be a very warm favourite, but that often opens the door for some nicely-priced E/W bets, so all isn't lost even if he wins. He's one of four LTO winners in the field, but we've no former course or distance winners on show today. The fav is at least 6lbs well in based on official ratings and we've a stack of in-form trainers and jockeys and plenty with good previous course form. The exceptions here are the trainer of Ottoman Empire and the jockey on The Mediterranean who are both short of a bit of form.

And so, to the runners themselves...

Fernando Vichi is likely to be one of the back markers, but did beat The Mediterranean by ¾ length to land a Listed race in Ireland three starts ago. he was then well beaten (9th of 11, 17L) in the Irish Derby before being a runner-up next/last time out in another Leopardstown Listed race stepped up to this trip. He's a useful sort, but others look better and he probably wants it a bit softer.

High Definition was 2 from 2 as a 2 yr old, including a Group 2 win over a mile at the Curragh last September. He started this season with a gritty run to finish third in the Gr2 Dante at York, 2 lengths behind Hurricane Lane, but has struggled in his last two outings, not seeing out 1m4f. He'd be a surprising winner here.

Hurricane Lane has four wins and a place from his five starts to date, the only 'blot' being a third place in this year's Derby, when seeming to not 'get' the track at Epsom, like many before him, I suppose. He made up for that by landing the Irish equivalent in June and also the Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Bastille Day. I'm not convinced this son of Frankel has finished improving yet, but tackles further than a mile and a half for the first time. Definitely the one to beat.

Interpretation was just 4th of 11 in a heavy ground 9f maiden on debut at the Curragh back in November on his sole outing as a 2yo, but is 3 from 3 this season, culminating in landing a Listed race over today's trip at Leopardstown a month ago beating Fernando Vichi by 1¾ lengths. This is a big step up, but he has proved he gets the trip, so he could well threaten to make the frame here.

Mojo Star took five races to finally get off the mark in a Class 3 maiden last time out, having been a runner-up in each of his first three outings, culminating in a 4.5 length defeat in The Derby back in June. He didn't fare quite as well in the Irish version three weeks later when only fifth of eleven, more than nine lengths off the pace. He might well be second best in the ratings, but has something to find here up in trip on quicker ground.

Ottoman Emperor is 4 from 4 on turf after being beaten by just over two lengths on debut (A/W at Dundalk) in March. In fairness, the first three of those races weren't anywhere near this standard, but he was always doing enough to win. He stepped up to 1m4f for the first time last time out and stayed on well to land the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood beating the re-opposing Sir Lucan by ½ length. Up in trip again and on quicker ground than he's faced, more improvement needed.

Scope looks up against it here despite gradually stepping up in both class and trip to a point where he was beaten by less than 2.5 lengths over 1m4f in a Gr2 race (Voltigeur) last time out. He was fifth of eight that day behind the re-opposing The Meditteranean, Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. He was weak in the finish over 1m4f, so an extra quarter mile might not suit him either. best avoided, I think.

Sir Lucan was fourth in that Voltigeur race above and runner-up in the Gordon Stakes after winning a Listed race at Navan over 1m5f. he stayed on well that day, suggesting that today's trip should well be in his grasp and although he has been beaten at Gr2 and Gr3 in his last two runs, he hasn't been far off and could well place here.

The Mediterranean is interesting, because despite only having a 1 in 5 record, was only a length and a quarter behind the winner of the Voltigeur last time out and he's one of four AP O'Brien runners here. That said, I'm not convinced that it's a particularly strong quartet and jockey Wayne Lordan looks to be struggling for form.

Youth Spirit won the Gr3 Chester Vase back in May and has been within two lengths of the winners of the Gr3 Gordon Stakes and the Gr2 Voltigeur on his last two runs. He seems to stay on well, but might lack a turn of foot. He'd be an unlikely winner here, of course, but has a 50% place strike rate and if kept handy could improve that here.

We know from above that we've no pervious course winners, that Fernando Vichi might want softer ground and that Ottoman Emperor is unbeaten in four runs on turf, but for the full lowdown on this field's record at this race's going/class/course/distance, here's Instant Expert from both a win...

and place perspective...

The place stats are very useful here, because if the fav does win, we need an E/W angle and also picks for forecast/tricast etc. Going off the above graphic, Fernando Vichi, High Definition, Scope and Sir Lucan look weakest and the bottom two look strong off most runs.

Our fav is drawn in stall 4 of 10, but we're advised that higher draws are better here...

...which might suit Youth Spirit more than it does The Mediterranean of those two possible placers at the bottom of the card. As well as preferring a high draw, it would seem that the further back you race, the better...

...and based on our field's most recent outings, this will suit the bottom half of this graphic more than the top half...

And when we put the two together in draw order...

...it looks like the pace will come from stalls 7 & 8 with the likes of Sir Lucan and Scope having the best of the pace/draw make-ups.

To be honest, Hurricane Lane (like Inspiral & Stradivarius this week) could be drawn anywhere with any running style and still prevail. The task here is to find a placer or two at a decent price.

Summary

It's definitely Hurricane Lane's race to win or lose, the question is whether you feel you want to back horses at odds of 4/5. I don't put enough money on to make it worth my while, so I'll leave it from a betting perspective and look for an E/W option.

And based upon everything above, I think the two I like are Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. The former has a good place record, has gone well at Gr2 and Gr3 and although pace/draw doesn't immediately look good, he's 7th of 10 on pace over the last three runs, so that's definitely more towards hold-up than prominent, whilst Sir Lucan is the hold up horse here, gets the trip and has been going well of late.

You can get 33's and 18's about Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan and I think they're interestingly enticing odds, so I'll have a dabble there.

 

Hollie Doyle relishing Leger chance with Interpretation

Hollie Doyle has spoken of her delight at picking up the mount on Interpretation for Aidan O’Brien in the Cazoo St Leger – her first ride in the Doncaster Classic.

Doyle has linked up with Ireland’s champion trainer on a couple of occasions at York this year, finishing fourth in the Dante Stakes on Roman Empire and third in the Yorkshire Oaks on 150-1 chance La Joconde.

The record-breaking jockey has clearly impressed O’Brien, who has handed her the mount on the Galileo colt who has won his last three, including at Listed level last time out in the Vinnie Roe Stakes, where he beat Donnacha O’Brien’s Fernando Vichi, who reopposes.

Doyle said: “It’s a great ride to pick up. He looks highly progressive and is unbeaten this year.

Interpretation was a winner at Leopardstown earlier this season
Interpretation was a winner at Leopardstown earlier this season (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He’s certain to stay and has beaten Donnacha’s horse before.

“It’s my first ride in the Leger and I’m really looking forward to it.”

O’Brien also runs High Definition, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean.

High Definition was an early Derby favourite but has endured a disappointing campaign so far, most recently finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Great Voltigeur at York – in which The Mediterranean was runner up, with Sir Lucan fourth.

Aidan O'Brien (right) and Frankie Dettori (second right) team up once again with High Definition
Aidan O’Brien (right) and Frankie Dettori (second right) team up once again with High Definition (John Walton/PA)

Frankie Dettori will ride High Definition, James Doyle has been booked for Sir Lucan and Wayne Lordan partners The Mediterranean.

Hot favourite Hurricane Lane heads a final field of 10.

Winner of the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris on his last two starts, the Charlie Appleby-trained Hurricane Lane is odds-on to make a successful transition to 14 furlongs in the final British Classic of the season on Saturday.

Ottoman Emperor will be seeking a fifth successive win for Johnny Murtagh, as he tries Group One company for the first time.

Ottoman Emperor represents Johnny Murtagh
Ottoman Emperor represents Johnny Murtagh (John Walton/PA)

He won a Cork maiden in April and has been on a rapid upwards trajectory since, landing a Gowran handicap in June before adding another win at Navan and successfully moving up to Group Three level to win the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July.

Derby runner-up Mojo Star has another shot at Classic glory, with Richard Hannon having sent him to Newbury last month for a confidence-boosting win in a 12-furlong maiden – the first victory of his five-race career.

Youth Spirit finished fourth behind Ottoman Emperor at Goodwood and third in the Voltigeur last time. He runs for Andrew Balding, who so nearly won the race last year when his Berkshire Rocco was beaten just a neck. Tom Marquand rides – having been aboard winner Galileo Chrome 12 months ago.

Voltigeur fifth Scope, who is trained by Ralph Beckett, completes the Leger line-up.

Hurricane Lane heads St Leger hopefuls

Hot favourite Hurricane Lane heads a final field of 10 for the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster.

Winner of the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris on his last two starts, the Charlie Appleby-trained Hurricane Lane is odds-on to make a successful transition to 14 furlongs in the final British Classic of the season on Saturday.

Ottoman Emperor will be seeking a fifth successive win for Johnny Murtagh as he switches up to Group One company for the first time.

Ottoman Emperor represents Johnny Murtagh
Ottoman Emperor represents Johnny Murtagh (John Walton/PA)

He won a Cork maiden in April and has been on a rapid upwards trajectory since, landing a Gowran handicap in June before adding another win at Navan and successfully moving up to Group Three level to win the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July.

Ottoman Emperor is one of six contenders from Ireland – with Aidan O’Brien sending the supplemented High Definition, plus Interpretation, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean.

High Definition was an early Derby favourite but has endured a disappointing campaign so far, most recently finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Great Voltigeur at York – in which The Mediterranean was runner up, with Sir Lucan fourth.

The Mediterranean was second in the Voltigeur at York
The Mediterranean was second in the Great Voltigeur at York (Nigel French/PA)

Interpretation has won his last three, including the Listed Vinnie Roe Stakes last time, in which the reopposing Fernando Vichi was second for Donnacha O’Brien.

Frankie Dettori will ride High Definition, with Hollie Doyle aboard Interpretation. James Doyle has been booked for Sir Lucan and Wayne Lordan partners The Mediterranean.

Derby runner-up Mojo Star has another shot at Classic glory, with Richard Hannon having sent him to Newbury last month for a confidence-boosting win in a 12-furlong maiden – the first victory of his five-race career.

Youth Spirit finished fourth behind Ottoman Emperor at Goodwood and third in the Voltigeur last time. He runs for Andrew Balding, who so nearly won the race last year when his Berkshire Rocco was beaten just a neck.

Voltigeur fifth Scope, who is trained by Ralph Beckett, completes the Leger line-up.

Hurricane Lane expected to go the distance in Leger

Hurricane Lane’s stamina is expected to stand up to the test of the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Frankel colt has won four of his five starts to date, his only defeat coming at the hands of stablemate Adayar when finishing third in the Derby at Epsom in early June.

Hurricane Lane has since gone on to frank that form by winning both the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris – and is hot favourite to successfully step up to a mile and three-quarters and provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a first victory in the world’s oldest Classic.

“Obviously, it (stamina) is the big question for all of them. Will they stay the extra two furlongs? In his case, I think he will,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“He goes into the Leger with rock-solid form. He’s only been beaten once — he finished third in the Derby, and he lost two shoes. We feel there is enough evidence there to say he will stay.

“He is the class horse in the field.”

The Moulton Paddocks handler believes Hurricane Lane has visually improved with each of his runs this season, adding : “After travelling to Ireland and France, he is a mentally sharper horse.

William Buick and Hurricane Lane after winning at the Curragh
William Buick and Hurricane Lane after winning at the Curragh (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“When he went to Epsom in June, he was unbeaten in three starts and relatively inexperienced. That was his undoing on the day.

“But what we have seen since is a much sharper model. He is mentally stronger and more mature, and he is ready for this.

“William (Buick) rode him in a good piece of work, 10 days out from the Leger, and he was delighted. He looked great, he moved well.

“He’s been doing routine work since then, and he continues to please.”

Appleby already has one leading contender for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in King George hero Adayar, who will head straight for next month’s ParisLongchamp showpiece after a minor setback ruled out a potential outing in a trial this weekend.

Appleby confirmed there is every chance Hurricane Lane will join his stablemate in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, assuming he comes through his Doncaster assignment unscathed.

He said: “We are lucky to have two very good middle-distance horses on our hands, and if both are fit and well, we will run the pair of them in the Arc.

“Those discussions will take place in the weeks leading up to the Arc.”

Dettori excited to join Ballydoyle’s St Leger party

Frankie Dettori will once again be teaming up with Aidan O’Brien in his bid for a seventh victory in the Cazoo St Leger.

The popular Italian and the master of Ballydoyle have combined to win two British Classics this season, with Mother Earth landing the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Snowfall streaking clear of her rivals in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom.

It is 16 years since the O’Brien-Dettori axis claimed St Leger glory with Scorpion, while the rider has also landed the Doncaster showpiece aboard Classic Cliche (1995), Shantou (1996), Sixties Icon (2006), Conduit (2008) and Logician (2019).

O’Brien, who also has six Leger victories on his CV, has a six-strong team for Saturday’s renewal – with High Definition supplemented to join stablemates Carlisle Bay, Interpretation, King Of The Castle, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean in the Town Moor showpiece.

Frankie Dettori winning the 2005 St Leger on Scorpion
Frankie Dettori winning the 2005 St Leger on Scorpion (PA)

Dettori expects to learn which horse he will be riding later in the week.

Speaking at a St Leger launch event in London on Monday, he said: “I’ve won it six times and I’ve won it for all variety of trainers – John (Gosden), Aidan, Jeremy (Noseda), Saeed (bin Suroor). It’s been a lucky race for me. I’ve been second a few times as well.

“It’s a smashing race, it’s the oldest Classic, the crowd gets behind you. It’s a tremendous atmosphere – and it’s a race I look forward to.

“I’ll leave the decision to Aidan. When you ride for him, the second or first string can win. I’m always excited to ride for him.

“I’ve been very lucky for him this year. It’s a race that you need horses that get the distance.

“Their horses are bred for that, and whatever he is going to put me on is going to be interesting.”

The red-hot favourite for this year’s renewal is the Charlie Appleby-trained Hurricane Lane – who undoubtedly boasts the best form, having won both the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris since finishing third behind stablemate Adayar in the Derby at Epsom.

However, he will be stepping up two furlongs in distance this weekend, and Dettori believes it would be dangerous to assume his stamina is guaranteed.

He said: “Hurricane Lane has definitely got the best form, but we are going into uncharted waters here.

“One mile six (furlongs) and 15 yards is longer than you think, and he has to prove his stamina.

“When you get to the two-furlong marker you’ve got to have lungs to take you to the line, and there is no place to hide. That’s what makes the Leger so difficult to win and so interesting.”

Hurricane Lane tops St Leger candidates

Hurricane Lane is the star name among 13 confirmations for the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster.

Charlie Appleby’s charge has won four of his five starts this year, his only defeat coming when third behind stablemate Adayar in the Derby at Epsom in early June.

Hurricane Lane has since completed a Group One double with victories in the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris – and he is odds-on to add to his top-level tally in the final Classic of the season on Saturday.

Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled six previous winners of the St Leger, has six contenders on course for this year’s renewal.

High Definition has been supplemented by Aidan O'Brien
High Definition has been supplemented by Aidan O’Brien (PA)

The Ballydoyle handler has supplemented High Definition to join stablemates Carlisle Bay, Interpretation, King Of The Castle, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean in the Town Moor showpiece.

Johnny Murtagh did not manage to win the one-mile-six-furlong contest during his illustrious riding career, but will have high hopes of claiming victory as a trainer with Ottoman Emperor.

The Excelebration colt is unbeaten in three starts so far this season, completing his hat-trick with a narrow defeat of Sir Lucan in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.

Fernando Vichi, from Donnacha O’Brien’s yard, completes the potential Irish challenge.

Mojo Star is a leading contender for Richard Hannon, having split Adayar and Hurricane Lane when runner-up in the Derby before finishing fifth in the Irish equivalent and then opening his account in a Newbury maiden.

Hannon said: “You have to say the Derby was the performance of his career so far, and following up on that at the Curragh I thought he was a bit unlucky in the Irish Derby, but I do think he has been crying out for this trip on a galloping track.

“It will suit him, and he’s in great form. It’s obviously a very good race, maybe stronger than it as been for a few years.

“The favourite will be extremely hard to beat. I’ve seen him a couple of times this season, and Charlie has done an amazing job with him.”

Roger Varian’s Save A Forest is the only remaining filly, with Ralph Beckett’s Scope and the Andrew Balding-trained Youth Spirit the other two hopefuls.

Favourite Hurricane Lane heads 18 still in Leger reckoning

Hurricane Lane has strengthened his position at the top of the Cazoo St Leger market after emerging as the sole Godolphin contender for next month’s Classic.

The Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris winner is one of 18 remaining, following the latest forfeit stage for the centre piece of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster.

Stablemate Adayar, conqueror of Hurricane Lane in the Epsom Derby, will not be in opposition – one of 14 taken out of the reckoning on Tuesday, for the final Classic of the season on September 11.

While trainer Charlie Appleby is expected to prepare Adayar instead for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three weeks later, Hurricane Lane may once again face Richard Hannon’s Mojo Star – who finished one place ahead of him when second in the Derby but was then only fifth in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh.

Also prominent among the remaining hopefuls are Johnny Murtagh’s fast improving and prolific winner Ottoman Emperor – hero of the Group Three Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood – and Martyn Meade’s Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle.

Aidan O’Brien, a six-times winner of the St Leger, still has eight in contention this year – including Sir Lamorak and Sir Lucan. The latter was second to Ottoman Emperor at Goodwood and then fourth in the Great Voltigeur – in which stablemate The Mediterranean was runner-up, and may again re-oppose.

Great Voltigeur third Youth Spirit is one of two still in the mix for Andrew Balding, and the two fillies who have stood their ground to date are Roger Varian’s Save A Forest and Ralph Beckett’s Yesyes – both Listed winners.

Murtagh reports Ottoman Emperor, currently second favourite behind Hurricane Lane in the ante-post lists, to be in fine form as he begins to prepare for his big target.

“That is the plan so far – we’ve had no problems, touch wood,” said the Kildare trainer.

“I’ve not been speaking much to the OTI people (owners) since after Goodwood – (but) the English St Leger is the next stop.

“That last run was good, and the form of that race stood up at York.”

Murtagh admits requisite stamina remains the great unknown as Ottoman Emperor bids for the longest Classic, having been beaten just once in his career so far – on debut in a Dundalk maiden back in March.

He added: “I think he deserves his chance in the St Leger – whether he stays the mile and six is a question mark, but we’ll have to pay to find out!

“You won’t find out until the day, when he goes past that mile and a half.

“But he’s a relaxed horse, and he gives the impression that he will (stay).”

Inspiral poised to take next step up the ladder at Doncaster

The May Hill Stakes at Doncaster remains the most likely next objective for 1000 Guineas favourite Inspiral.

Impressive on her racecourse debut at Newmarket at the end of June, the Frankel filly was promoted to the top of ante-post lists for next season’s Rowley Mile Classic after maintaining her unbeaten record in the Star Stakes at Sandown last month.

John Gosden, who trains the Cheveley Park-owned youngster in partnership with son Thady, immediately nominated the Group Two May Hill as a potential aim and connections are happy to aim towards Doncaster’s St Leger meeting in September.

Cheveley Park’s managing director, Chris Richardson, said: “Everyone is very happy with her. John was very pleased, she obviously did it very nicely.

“I haven’t seen her since the race, so hopefully I can get down to the yard shortly.

“The May Hill remains a possible target.”

Inspiral is a general 12-1 shot for the 1000 Guineas next May – and while Richardson is not getting carried away just yet, he admits it is a good position to be in.

“We all have dreams,” he added.

Derby duo top 31 entries for St Leger

Derby heroes Adayar and Hurricane Lane headline an initial 31 entries for the oldest Classic on the calendar, the Cazoo St Leger Stakes at Doncaster.

Run on Town Moor on September 11, the race is contested over a mile and six furlongs for a total purse of £700,000.

Charlie Appleby’s Hurricane Lane is the ante-post favourite following his Irish Derby success and subsequent emphatic win in the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp.

Adayar was the Derby winner at Epsom
Adayar was the Derby winner at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Appleby has also entered Epsom victor Adayar, who was last seen claiming the Derby by four and a half lengths and is due to contest Saturday’s King George at Ascot.

Richard Hannon’s Mojo Star was the runner-up at Epsom and the colt is set to cross paths again after an unlucky fifth in the Irish Derby.

“The St Leger is on the radar for Mojo Star,” Hannon said.

“We have given him the entry and we’ll see how we go.

“He has come out of Ireland fine and had a little break since then.

“I am not too sure where he is going to run next, but I am pleased with him.”

Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle also holds an entry and was last seen finishing just a neck behind Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby.

Aidan O’Brien is well represented with 13 possible contenders, the most fancied of which are Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Wordsworth and Yeats Stakes winner Sir Lucan.

Galileo Chrome (right) won last year's St Leger
Galileo Chrome (right) won last year’s St Leger (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The contest was won last year by Joseph O’Brien’s Galileo Chrome and the trainer could bid for a repeat success this season with the unexposed Okita Soush, who has one run and one victory under his belt having triumphed in a one-mile-four-furlong Fairyhouse maiden in June.

“Okita Soushi is declared to run in a mile-and-five-furlong race at Leopardstown on Thursday, so we’ll see how he gets on there,” O’Brien said.

“He won his maiden nicely and we think he has the makings of a nice stayer, although whether he is going to be quite ready for a St Leger remains to be seen.

“We felt it was worth making an entry as we wanted to keep our options open.”

Appleby plots big-race targets for his Derby heroes

Adayar and Hurricane Lane were both reported to be in top form as Charlie Appleby looks to future plans for his Derby-winning colts.

Adayar struck gold at Epsom, while his stablemate claimed the Irish equivalent – and could have the final Classic of the year at Doncaster as his next engagement.

For Adayar, it will be the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot next.

Appleby said: “Touch wood, all is well – they’re (both) in great form.

Charlie Appleby with the Derby trophy at Epsom
Charlie Appleby with the Derby trophy at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

“Adayar worked on Saturday and is building up towards the King George. He’s done very well for his break – he put a nice bit of condition on, so it’s time to start taking a bit back off again! I couldn’t be any happier with him.

“Hurricane Lane has come out of the Irish Derby very well. It looked a tough, hard race – and I thought he’d sleep for a few days afterwards, but he’s come out of the race bouncing.

“We’ll potentially go straight to the St Leger with him.”

Reflecting further, the Godolphin trainer said: “It’s been a great year.

Hurricane Lane edged Lone Eagle in a thrilling Irish Derby
Hurricane Lane edged Lone Eagle in a thrilling Irish Derby (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“We were always confident with the three-year-olds. We didn’t have a Group One-winning two-year-old last year, but we always felt with the pedigrees that they’d come into their own as three-year-olds – and they’ve not let us down.

“To have two Derby winners with two different horses is very unusual for our stable. It’s great for the team, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin.

“Like in any sport, when you have good players around you, it makes the yard tick away nicely.”

Cazoo backing for St Leger Festival

Cazoo has expanded its Classic portfolio by becoming the new sponsor of the St Leger.

The online car retailer has announced the partnership with Arena Racing Company, owners and operators of Doncaster – where the St Leger will be the highlight of this year’s four-day festival from September 8-11.

As well as naming rights for the St Leger Festival and its showpiece race, the deal also includes year-round prominent branding for Cazoo across all 16 ARC racecourses.

Cazoo is a significant sponsor in several major sports such as football, cricket, rugby league and snooker – as well as the Derby and Oaks at Epsom

Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Cazoo, said: “We are delighted to partner with ARC on the new Cazoo St Leger Festival, home to the world’s oldest Classic.”

ARC chief executive Martin Cruddace added: “We are delighted to welcome Cazoo as our new partner for the Cazoo St Leger Festival and, of course, the feature race itself.

“As an innovative and growing brand, they are a fantastic fit for what is an incredibly popular and important meeting in the race calendar.”

Cunningham retains Fury faith despite Doncaster disappointment

Connections of the equine Tyson Fury retain full faith in his abilities after taking plenty of encouragement from his performance in the Pertemps St Leger.

The Richard Spencer-trained colt – who is named after the world heavyweight champion – lined up for the final Classic of the season at Doncaster having only made one racecourse appearance, when he was the comfortable winner of a novice stakes race at the same track.

The son of Iffraaj was not seen again until taking his big-race chance on Town Moor last Saturday, when he finished an eventual ninth of 11 runners, beaten 12 lengths by Galileo Chrome.

However, co-owner Phil Cunningham was bolstered by Tyson Fury’s late progress in the race and pointed out his encouraging sectional timings.

“I suppose on one hand we were a little bit disappointed, because obviously we wouldn’t have gone there if we didn’t think we’d have finished closer,” he said.

“But I thought he ran a lovely race in hindsight. Kieran (Shoemark) looked after him – I thought he did the right thing, he showed up nicely from four furlongs out.

“His furlong from the fourth (furlong out) to the third, now we have the benefit of sectional timing, was the fastest furlong of any horse in the race. His combined time from the fourth (last) to the second was the fastest of any horse in the race.

“He’s a big baby, very immature and very green – everything we half expected. Like I say, I think Kieran looked after him. He could have finished closer if he wanted, but there was no point, we weren’t going to win.”

Cunningham anticipates Tyson Fury will make his next appearance in a less testing contest, perhaps stepping back down to the 12-furlong trip he won over on his racecourse debut.

“I think Richard will find a race for him in a couple of weeks’ time,” he said.

“Maybe slightly back in trip, a bit of a confidence boost, but I think we’ve got a cracking horse to look forward to for next year.

“Obviously we’ll discuss it with Richard, but I’d love to see him back at a mile and a half next time. Off the back of that run, we’ll probably determine where we go after that, or indeed if we put him away until next year.”

Heartened by the promise shown in his two runs starts to date, Cunningham is looking forward to seeing how the colt matures and progresses next season.

“The positive thing is that there’s no harm done,” he said.

“I’m just delighted to know we’ve got a horse that’s capable of competing at that level and I think we’ll be the biggest improver from the race for next season.”