Saturday 20 January 2018

Kingfisher leads O'Brien's bid for repeat St Leger win

Kingfisher, with Colm O'Donoghue up
Kingfisher, with Colm O'Donoghue up
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Irish Derby runner-up Kingfisher spearheads Aidan O'Brien's seven entries for the Doncaster St Leger as he bids to repeat last year's success in the final Classic of the season.

The Ballydoyle supremo took the spoils at Town Moor last September with Leading Light, which has since proven himself one of the top stayers around with his victory in the Ascot Gold Cup.

Kingfisher, winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester in May, is the shortest of O'Brien's representatives in the ante-post betting at 14/1, closely followed by stablemate Granddukeoftuscany, runaway winner of a Tipperary maiden earlier this month.

Other possibles from the Rosegreen outfit are Indian Maharaja, Adjusted, Annus Mirabilis, Blue Hussar and Buonarroti.

John Gosden has a great record in the race, having won it four times already, and he has entered a formidable team of five among the 33 entries for the Ladbrokes-sponsored showpiece.

Derby third Romsdal and King Edward VII victor Eagle Top, both possibles for Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, appear his main hopes.

They are supplemented by Forever Now, Marzocco and Cloudscape. However, there is no place on the team for Sunday's impressive Prix Eugene Adam winner Western Hymn.

Roger Charlton has a live contender in Observational, winner of the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood. He will return to the Sussex venue next week for the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes to have his claims tested.

"We have entered Observational in the Ladbrokes St Leger and it's a race we are looking at," said Charlton.

"He will go for the Gordon Stakes next and we will see how he gets on there before deciding if he needs another run before the St Leger. I would not be too concerned about stepping up in trip."

Other leading lights at this stage include Godolphin's Royal Ascot winner Elite Army, Michael Stoute's Snow Sky and Kings Fete, impressive at Doncaster last time out, and the Derby runner-up Kingston Hill for Roger Varian.

Mark Johnston's Hartnell will aim to keep the prize in the north, while the likes of Derby fifth Red Galileo and Scotland are others engaged at this stage.

Ladbrokes St Leger – sponsors bet: 5/1 Kingston Hill, Romsdal; 6/1 Eagle Top, Elite Army; 7/1 Hartnell; 14/1 Kingfisher, Cloudscape, Kings Fete, 16/1 bar.

Irish Independent

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