St Leger 2013 Preview

 The Favourites

Eleven horses have been declared for the 2013 St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, the world’s oldest classic horse race.  There is some doubt as to whether or not long-time favourite Galileo Rock will take his place in the field as the going has changed to good to soft during the week. The colt, placed in both the English Derby and Irish Derby, is known to prefer a faster surface and could be switched to the all-aged Irish St Leger on Sunday.

Should Galileo Rock fail to line up, the likely favourite is John Gosden’s Excess Knowledge who has been well supported since running a fine trial at Glorious Goodwood. He was held up at the rear by William Buick and moved through to challenge in the straight, only to find his path repeatedly blocked by the wayward Spillway.

Once he saw daylight, he flew home but too late to catch Cap O’Rushes. He looks certain to reverse the placings with that horse and looks a good bet at 7-2 with Bet365.

The ride on Excess Knowledge now goes to James Doyle who has recently been appointed as number one jockey to Prince Khalid Abdullah in the UK.

He has been riding with great confidence this season and will probably hold the colt up before producing him up the long Doncaster straight.

The Dangers

The biggest threat to Excess Knowledge may come from the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo, Foundry and Leading Light. The former was having only the second race of his career when staying on into second place behind the impressive Telescope in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting. That race has often thrown up St Leger horses, most recently with Encke last season.

Leading Light proved that stamina was his forte when winning the two-mile Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June. He looked booked for second place that day but rallied bravely and his supporters can be confident that he won’t go down without a fight.

The Outsiders

It is unusual to put the Epsom Derby runner-up and the Oaks winner in the “outsiders” bracket but both horses have serious questions to answer. Libertarian was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed after his flying finish at Epsom behind Ruler of the World but ran appallingly in the Irish Derby on his first race in the all blue of Godolphin. He is known to be a particularly lazy worker at home and punters supporting this one are relying on guesswork. Godolphin are also represented by Cap O’Rushes and Secret Number but both appear held by Excess Knowledge on Goodwood form.

Talent lived up to her name when winning the Oaks but she also turned in a poor effort in Ireland on her only subsequent start. Connections have blamed the fast ground for her lack lustre display and hope that the softer surface will see her return to her best.

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