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The final Classic of the British Flat season looks like a proper punting puzzle, despite a field of just nine runners standing their ground at final declarations for the St Leger.
Gregory was an impressive winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, but Frankie Dettori has jumped ship to Arrest, who went off as favourite for the Derby, due to the ground being soft at the start of the four-day meeting at Doncaster.
Continuous romped to victory in one of the season’s other major trials, the Great Voltigeur, while Ballydoyle also saddle Ulster Derby scorer Tower Of London, who is certain to stay the stamina-sapping trip, Alexandroupolis and Denmark.
If that wasn’t enough to cloud the picture, there could be a first Royal winner of a Classic since 1977 as Desert Hero has risen through the ranks, with the Group 3 Gordon Stakes being captured last time out.
The line-up for Saturday’s 15:35 is completed by progressive Melrose Handicap hero Middle Earth and Godolphin runner Chesspiece.
The latest St Leger odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
St Leger tips
Timeform: Just the 9 runners for the oldest Classic but it has a very open feel to it. CONTINUOUS took his form to a whole new level in a well-run race when a decisive winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York and that marks him out as the one to beat with this trip likely to unlock even more. Gregory failed to land the odds in that race but he carried a penalty that day and this contest will play to his strengths (though Dettori now rides Arrest). At longer odds, Tower of London cannot be ruled out.
St Leger runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the St Leger 2023.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Sean Levey Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 4
Taking debut winner in the autumn. Hasn’t advanced his form as perhaps expected both starts this year 4 months apart, albeit he wasn’t seen to best effect in the Vinnie Roe Stakes. Retains potential but this is a big ask.
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Frankie Dettori Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 6
Runner-up in French Group 1 on final 2-y-o start and reappeared to win the Chester Vase in May (both heavy ground). Not in the same form on a firmer surface in the Derby at Epsom and King Edward at Ascot but dropped in class, he responded well to a positive ride when winning Geoffrey Freer Stakes.
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford Jockey: James Doyle Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 8
Purchased by Godolphin after taking handicap win and improved when third to Gregory in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot (1¾m). Listed winner at Hamilton a month later and looked ready for a return to this trip when second in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 2
Looked smart when winning both 2-y-o starts. Encouraging return in the Dante and rook his form to a whole new level in a well-run race when a decisive winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. That is the best form on offer and this trip may well unlock more.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Daniel Tudhope Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 7
Yet to add to debut success last summer but quietly progressive in 3 starts at up to 14f this term. Looked a tricky ride in handicap company at Haydock and he’s hard to make a case for at this level.
Trainer: William Haggas Jockey: Tom Marquand Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 1
Produced a smart performance when winning the traditionally very strong King George (Handicap) at Royal Ascot in June. Overcame tricky circumstances when following up in the Gordon Stakes and his limit may noy have been reached trying a new trip.
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Kieran Shoemark Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 3
Confirmed debut impression when landing a listed race at Goodwood and found bundles for pressure when maintaining his unbeaten record in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Carried a penalty and turned over by Continuous in the Great Voltigeur but return to this trip very much in his favour.
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Oisin Murphy Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 5
Runner-up first 2 starts and well suited by a true test upped to 1½m when landing 7-runner Newmarket novice in July, battling well. Found another jolt of improvement when cashing in on a lenient mark in the Melrose Handicap and he’s clearly a 3-y-o stayer on the up.
Tower Of London
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Jim Crowley Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 9
Form has taken off since stepping up to middle distances, winning a Leopardstown listed race and the Ulster Derby (Handicap) in June. Would probably have completed the hat-trick had rider not dropped his whip in the Bahrain Stakes and he’s a brother to a Leger winner.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
- Matt Chapman’s ITV Racing tips for Doncaster and Chester
- Mick Fitzgerald’s horse racing tips for Doncaster on St Leger day
- Ruby Walsh’s horse racing tips on St Leger day at Doncaster
- Jason Weaver’s ITV Racing tips for Saturday
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
- Doncaster St Leger Festival 2023 race times and day-by-day schedule
- When is the St Leger? Doncaster date, start time, runners and betting
- St Leger trends and stats for Doncaster 3.35 on Saturday