The world oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger, will be run for the 240th time at 3.45pm on Saturday, September 10 at Doncaster, with this year’s renewal attracting a great entry of 42 (up from 29 in 2015), which is revealed today.
Boasting record total prize money of £700,000 (£650,000 last year), the Ladbrokes St Leger takes place over one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards and is the highlight of the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival from Wednesday, September 7 to Saturday, September 10 on Town Moor.
Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is seeking his fifth Ladbrokes St Leger success and has a total of 16 entries, the most of any trainer. The Ballydoyle contingent includes Investec Derby second US Army Ranger (12/1 with Ladbrokes) and Idaho (4/1 favourite with Ladbrokes), who was third in the Epsom Downs Classic before going on to fill the runner-up position in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Also among the Ballydoyle hopefuls is Sword Fighter (12/1), who has already proved his stamina by landing both the two-mile Listed Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and the G2 Curragh Cup over a mile and three quarters. Bhutan (20/1), a Galileo colt who was impressive when beating stable companion Housesofparliament (16/1) by three lengths on his only start in a 10-furlong Leopardstown maiden on heavy ground in April, is another O’Brien-trained entry.
O’Brien captured an early trial for the Ladbrokes St Leger when Housesofparliament was successful in the 13-furlong G3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on July 7, with Harrison (Mick Channon, 40/1) in third and Harbour View (Laura Mongan, 40/1) fourth.
There could also be a first British Classic runner for O’Brien’s son Joseph, who is in his rookie season as a trainer. O’Brien junior, who won the Ladbrokes St Leger as a jockey on Leading Light in 2013, has entered recent 14-furlong Leopardstown Listed scorer Arya Tara (20/1). The Dylan Thomas filly is owned by his mother Anne-Marie and ridden by his sister Ana.
Another filly with an entry is dual Classic-placed Harlequeen (33/1), trained by Mick Channon, who finished third in the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 3 and then took the same position in the Darley Irish Oaks on July 16.
Aidan O’Brien has also entered one his star fillies, Even Song (25/1), who was successful in the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot before disappointing in seventh when the odds-on favourite for the Darley Irish Oaks.
Newmarket-based John Gosden has a fine Ladbrokes St Leger record, gaining glory four times in the final of Britain’s five Classics. His pair of entries this year are Investec Derby fourth Wings Of Desire (12/1), who is set to contest the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 12 furlongs at Ascot on Saturday, and Muntahaa (12/1), third to Across The Stars (Sir Michael Stoute, 12/1) in the G2 King Edward VII Stakes, also run at a mile and a half, at Royal Ascot.
One trainer yet to saddle a runner in the Ladbrokes St Leger is Lambourn-based Harry Dunlop. His father John trained the winner of the final Classic three times, most recently with Millenary in 2000.
Dunlop is considering the Ladbrokes St Leger for his stable star Robin Of Navan (25/1), who landed the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in 2015.
The French-bred colt returned to action this year when a staying-on second to old adversary Cloth Of Stars in the 10-furlong Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud on May 8, but has been on the sidelines since picking up an injury in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) over an extended 10 furlongs on June 5.
Dunlop commented: “I felt that we should give Robin Of Navan an entry in the Ladbrokes St Leger because it is the final Classic of the season and it would be lovely to build him up towards the race.
“He sustained an injury in the Prix du Jockey Club, which we think he may have done in the parade before the race when he whipped round as they were playing music.
“He pulled a ligament but it seems to be all good now and we are just quietly getting him back going again.
“He is back in normal work and is making good progress. We are going to see how he goes and we could look at running him beforehand, possibly in France again.
“The Ladbrokes St Leger is a big target to aim at, providing he is ready in time.
“We honestly thought that he was going best of anything in the Prix du Jockey Club and then he suddenly lost his action. We had beaten Apilobar, who was fifth, quite nicely in the Prix Greffulhe and I think Robin Of Navan had every right to be in the first three.
“He doesn’t need soft ground and is pretty versatile. It was actually good to firm in the Prix Greffulhe – it was very hot weather and the time was quick for a French race – and genuine good ground is fine for him. The main thing is that he likes a strongly-run race.
“He won us an absolute fortune last year and ran a super race in the Prix Greffulhe. It would be lovely to get him back for the latter part of the season, but if we have to wait until next year with him, so be it.”
Dunlop’s brother Ed also has a Ladbrokes St Leger entry – Red Verdon (12/1), who was last seen out when the excellent runner-up in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud on July 14, a neck ahead of Cloth Of Stars.
Other eye-catching entries include Algometer (David Simcock, 16/1), successful in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood in May, and the French-trained Shalakar (Mikel Delzangles, 25/1), winner of a 15-furlong Chantilly conditions race last week.
Godolphin, successful in the Ladbrokes St Leger six times, has two entries this year with Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor, 40/1) and Twilight Payment (33/1 Jim Bolger).
Doncaster Racecourse Clerk of the Course, Roderick Duncan, reacted to the bountiful entries.
He said: “We are delighted with the number of entries for the 2016 Ladbrokes St Leger and are equally pleased to see top-quality horses from major yards across Britain, Ireland and France entered. 2016 should be a fantastic renewal of the world’s oldest Classic.”
Ladbrokes St Leger, Ladbrokes bet: 4/1 Idaho; 12/1 Across The Stars, Muntahaa, Red Verdon, Sword Fighter, US Army Ranger, Wings Of Desire; 16/1 Algometer, Housesofparliament; 20/1 Arya Tara, Bhutan; 25/1 Even Song, Kellstorm, Robin Of Navan, Shalakar; 33/1 Earring, Harlequeen, Humphrey Bogart, Imperial Aviator, Marmelo, Nezwaah, Twilight Payment, Ventura Storm; 40/1 Harbour Law, Harrison, Ormito, Pretty Perfect, Prize Money, Somehow; 50/1 Best In The World, Corinthian, Knights Table, The Major General; 66/1 Cole Porter, Cook Islands, Crimean Tatar, Emperor Napoleon, Goldmember, The Tartan Spartan, To Be Wild, Triplicate, Unicorn
E-W 1/4 odds 1-2-3
The Ladbrokes St Leger
Group 1, £700,000 total prize fund. Doncaster, 3.45pmSaturday, September 10, 1m 6f 132y. For three-year-olds only, entire colts (9st 1lb) and fillies (8st 12lb). Entries closed July 19, entries revealed July 20 (42 entries), scratchings deadline August 23, five-day confirmation & £50,000 supplementary stage September 5, final declarations September 8. Maximum field of 20.
|ACROSS THE STARS (IRE)||3||Saeed Suhail||Sir Michael Stoute|
|ALGOMETER||3||Kirsten Rausing||David Simcock|
|ARYA TARA (IRE)||3||Anne-Marie O’Brien||Joseph O’Brien IRE|
|BEST IN THE WORLD (IRE)||3||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|BHUTAN (IRE)||3||Sue Magnier,Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|COLE PORTER (IRE)||3||Triermore Stud/Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|COOK ISLANDS (IRE)||3||Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|CORINTHIAN||3||Highclere Thoroughbred Racing (Gladstone)||Roger Varian|
|CRIMEAN TATAR (TUR)||3||V I Araci||Hugo Palmer|
|EARRING (USA)||3||Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|EMPEROR NAPOLEON||3||The Napoleon Partnership||Andrew Balding|
|EVEN SONG (IRE)||3||Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|GOLDMEMBER||3||Qatar Racing Limited||David Simcock|
|HARBOUR LAW||3||Jackie Cornwell||Laura Mongan|
|HARLEQUEEN||3||Suzanne Brandt||Mick Channon|
|HARRISON||3||Tim Radford||Mick Channon|
|HOUSESOFPARLIAMENT (IRE)||3||Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE)||3||Chelsea Thoroughbreds – Saint Tropez||Richard Hannon|
|IDAHO (IRE)||3||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|IMPERIAL AVIATOR||3||Qatar Racing, D Hunt, & Mrs E Markham||Roger Charlton|
|KELLSTORM (IRE)||3||Teo Ah Khing/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|KNIGHTS TABLE||3||Saeed Manana||James Tate|
|MARMELO||3||The Fairy Story Partnership||Hughie Morrison|
|MUNTAHAA (IRE)||3||Hamdan Al Maktoum||John Gosden|
|NEZWAAH||3||Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum||Roger Varian|
|ORMITO (GER)||3||Richard Morecombe & Lynda Ramsden||Andrew Balding|
|PRETTY PERFECT (IRE)||3||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|PRIZE MONEY||3||Godolphin||Saeed bin Suroor|
|RED VERDON (USA)||3||The Hon R J Arculli||Ed Dunlop|
|ROBIN OF NAVAN (FR)||3||Cross, Deal, Foden, Sieff||Harry Dunlop|
|SHALAKAR (FR)||3||H H Aga Khan||Mikel Delzangles FR|
|SOMEHOW (IRE)||3||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|SWORD FIGHTER (IRE)||3||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|THE MAJOR GENERAL (IRE)||3||Magnier/Tabor/Smith/Jooste/Kantor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|THE TARTAN SPARTAN (IRE)||3||Thistle Bloodstock Limited||Pat Shanahan IRE|
|TO BE WILD (IRE)||3||Carmichael Jennings||Hugo Palmer|
|TRIPLICATE (IRE)||3||Sue Magnier,Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE)||3||Godolphin||Jim Bolger IRE|
|UNICORN (IRE)||3||Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|US ARMY RANGER (IRE)||3||Sue Magnier,Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|VENTURA STORM (IRE)||3||Middleham Park Racing LXXII||Richard Hannon|
|WINGS OF DESIRE||3||Lady Bamford||John Gosden|
Breakdown of entries by trainer with past successes in the Ladbrokes St Leger
Aidan O’Brien IRE (2001 Milan, 2003 Brian Boru, 2005 Scorpion, 2013 Leading Light)
Best In The World, Bhutan, Cole Porter, Cook Islands, Earring, Even Song, Housesofparliament, Idaho, Kellstorm, Pretty Perfect, Somehow, Sword Fighter, The Major General, Triplicate, Unicorn, US Army Ranger
Emperor Napoleon, Ormito
John Gosden (1996 Shantou, 2007 Lucarno, 2010 Arctic Cosmos, 2011 Masked Marvel)
Muntahaa, Wings of Desire
Humphrey Bogart, Ventura Storm
Crimean Tatar, To Be Wild
Roger Varian (2014 Kingston Hill)
Jim Bolger IRE
Mikel Delzangles FR
Robin Of Navan
Joseph O’Brien IRE
Pat Shanahan IRE
The Tartan Spartan
Sir Michael Stoute (2008 Conduit)
Across The Stars
Saeed bin Suroor (1995 Classic Cliche, 1998 Nedawi, 1999 Mutafaweq, 2004 Rule of Law, 2009 Mastery)
About the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival
The four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival is the jewel in the crown of horse racing in Yorkshire and the showpiece of Doncaster’s social calendar. Racegoers enjoy a delightful blend of history, quality racing and live entertainment. The 2016 Ladbrokes St Leger Festival takes place from Wednesday, September 7 through to Saturday, September 10 inclusive.
The famous Festival is one of the highlights of the Flat racing calendar. The crescendo builds to Saturday, when the flagship event – the Ladbrokes St Leger – takes centre-stage. First run in 1776, the Ladbrokes St Leger is the world’s oldest Classic and can boast a truly outstanding heritage. It is the last of the five British Classics to be run each year.
The four days of the Ladbrokes St Leger are Leger Legends Day (Wednesday, September 7), DFS Ladies Day (Thursday, September 8), Doncaster Cup Gentlemen’s Day (Friday, September 9) and Ladbrokes St Leger Day (Saturday, September 10).
For further details and to book tickets, please contact Doncaster Racecourse on 01302 304230 or go to www.doncaster-racececourse.co.uk
The dedicated Ladbrokes St Leger microsite can be found at www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/st-leger