Newmarket handler, John Gosden, who has sent out the winner of the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger three times in the last five renewals, has given the strongest hint yet that he will saddle just two serious candidates for the race from his four runners, who feature prominently in the ante-post market for the world’s oldest classic, writes Elliot Slater.
Gosden has indicated that his recent Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes winner, Thought Worthy, and the lightly raced colt Michelangelo are likely to be his main representatives for the September 15 contest, and that his other two contenders, Shantaram and Great Heavens, are unlikely to make the line-up for the mile-and-six-furlong contest for differing reasons.
Shantaram has not been at his best since being forced to miss the Great Voltigeur Stakes with a lung infection, while it appears that Lady Rothschild’s impressive Irish Oaks winner, Great Heavens, is now being targeted at the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp the day following the St Leger.
Great Heavens has generally been priced up as the ante-post second favourite at between 6/1 and 10/1 behind the long odds-on Triple Crown seeker, Camelot (2/5), whilst Shantaram, winner of the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy when last seen on racecourse duty, is a general 10/1 chance.
Thought Worthy, a full-brother to the 2007 St Leger winner, Lucarno, who also won the big York contest on his way to victory on town Moor, has been the subject of sustained support in recent days that have seen his St Leger odds fall from as big as 12/1 to a general offer of 8/1.
Michelangelo, who had looked so promising when winning the Tattersalls Millions at Newmarket in June, before appearing rather short of pace when only third to Noble Mission in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last time out, can still be backed at up to 14/1.