The William Hill St Ledger Stakes at Doncaster this Saturday looks on paper to be a rematch of the York Voltigeur Stakes placed horses Kew Gardens and Old Persian. However, the late money for the John Gosden trained Lah Ti Dar has certainly added a new dimension to the betting market.
This has been a major target for Aiden O’Brien and the Ballydoyle team since Kew Gardens won the Grand Prix de Paris in fairly convincing style. His performance in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot also demonstrated a nifty turn of foot and staying credentials. In the Voltigeur under a five pound penalty at York, Kew Gardens was played late and again stayed on in an eye catching fashion to indicate that 1m 6 furlongs could be his ideal trip. A line can be drawn through his disappointing run in the Epsom Derby as the undulations probably didn’t suit his running style.
Doncaster being a flat track should provide an appropriate galloping test for this improving 3 year old. Long terms ambitions state that he will be aimed for the 2 mile championships hence his entries for the Qipco Long Distance Cup for Ascot in October and The Melbourne Cup. However, value in the betting markets is arguably short for a horse that has yet to provide his best: 7/4 with Betfair and Paddy Power. The performance in the Voltigeur is convincing enough though to give Kew Gardens the narrow nod for this oldest of classics. The biggest danger should emanate from the winner of the afore mentioned York race, Old Persian.
The Charlie Appleby trained Old Persian has been a model of consistency this season. His Royal Ascot triumph in the King Edward VII Stakes indicated that it was the right move to step up to 1 mile 4 furlongs and this was again vindicated in his best win to date in the Voltigeur at York. Stepping up further to 1 mile 6 for the St Ledger will certainly be entering unknown territory and it’s firmly evident that Kew Gardens would have taken his scalp at York with an extra furlong. However, with the weather set to stay dry for the next few days, it is unlikely to be a staying slogathon which would probably favour Kew Gardens more. Old Persian should certainly improve for this run and is widely available at 6’s with Betfair, William Hill and Paddy Power.
Lah Ti Dar
By far the best backed horse of the week so far and it’s abundantly clear to see why thanks to a demolition job in the Galtres Stake at York last month. This filly demonstrated enormous ability in that race and with John Gosden’s runners flying in at the moment, the antipost money is fully justified. The participation is not entirely guaranteed however with the horse declared for the Vermaille at Longchamp on Sunday. Connections have stipulated that they don’t want the ground too fast for Saturday’s Leger and with only a little rain forecast, the situation is giving punters quite a conundrum.
If you are going to bet on Lah Ti Dar, check thoroughly with the firm you are placing the bet with regarding whether this is a “NRNB” or “Full Antepost Rules Apply”. At the time of writing, it seems that all firms are still operating on full ante post rules which means of course that you will lose your stake if Lah Ti Dar is switched to the Sunday race instead. As things stand, William Hill are offering 100/30 best with full ante post rules applying.
Dee Ex Bee is a very interesting each way contender. His second behind Masar in the Epsom Derby was a blistering performance and confirmed that he’s guaranteed to stay beyond 1 mile 4. However, his form has dived since that run and it’s anybody guess to which horse will turn up on Saturday but a potent threat he will be if he’s anywhere back to that Derby form. 12/1 (William Hill, Coral, Boylesports).
Two other live each way contenders look to be Southern France and Maid Up. The former has been mighty consistent in the extended distances most notably when he finished 4 lengths behind Kew Gardens at the Queen’s Vase at Ascot before finishing a respectable 4th in the Irish Derby at The Curragh. He’s sure to improve again and valued for a place (10/1, William Hill). Maid Up has been performing well in recent handicaps and this is obviously a massive step up in class but 20/1 (Bet Victor) is great value for an improving horse.
This is an intriguing hot St Leger Stakes contest with plenty in with a shout. Nevertheless, the sensible form head suggests that Kew Gardens has the class, the staying power and the pedigree to see this home and register a sixth triumph for Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team. Maid Up could also be a worthy and valued each way speculation.
Enjoy the race!