William Hill St Leger, Irish Champions Weekend & Arc Trials Review
The last few days has produced some of the best racing we have seen this season, but what does it all mean? Did we see the best horse since Frankel? Can anything challenge Enable at Longchamp? Has John Gosden unearthed another superstar stayer? In my latest blog I will give my thoughts and opinions on some of the key points moving forward for the future.
St Leger – Logician was the Logical Choice
The final classic of the season looked all to be about Logician on paper before the race. John Gosden’s three-year-old was unbeaten and the track,ground and trip all looked sure to suit the son of Frankel. Usually there is normally a twist or a turn in these races when there is a short priced favourite, but Logician just seemed to take another step forward with his improvement. Logician’s display at Doncaster was breath taking with him breaking the track record over the course and distance. Next year it will be interesting to see what campaign he takes and what is trip will be. Gosden confirmed after the race that he will rest now until next year. Moving forward I think he has the chance to be a star but St Leger winners can find it difficult to follow up with Group 1 success. The last St Leger winner to go on to Group 1 success was Aidan O’Brien’s Leading Light in 2013 who went on to win an Ascot Gold Cup & Irish St Leger. It is difficult to say whether Logician will go down the same route as Stradivarius over marathon trips. I think Logician might be campaigned between 1 Mile 4 Furlongs & 6 Furlongs, with possible aims being the Coronation Cup and King George as Gosden doesn’t like to run his stars against each other. Elsewhere in the St Leger I was impressed with the run of Sir Ron Priestley, but moving forward he could easily take over Dee Ex Bee’s role of finishing second to Stradivarius next season for Mark Johnston. The Ballydoyle runners were very disappointing with their number one candidate Sir Dragonet not making the frame. There was a lot of noise from Ballydoyle about how Sir Dragonet had developed and how he was a different horse. If he is turned out again with cut in the ground I would say he is a good bet, because it seems O’Brien’s horses need a run after a break which has been with horses such as Ten Sovereigns. The key to Sir Dragonet is soft ground which is clearly demonstrated in the form book where all his best runs coming on that particular surface. Overall assessing this year’s renewal I think it was a weak edition which one or two possible stars to come from it but I think history will remember it as Logician’s St Leger.
Pinatubo – The Pinnacle of Two Years Olds in 2019?
On Sunday Pinatubo won the Group 1 National Stakes with his best performance yet for Charlie Appleby. The media seems to have really hyped his win with the Racing Post giving him their best rating since Frankel. There is no denying that he is one of the most exciting two-year-olds around on what he has achieved this year. However I want to see him transfer his talent to next year because ultimately two-year-olds in recent years have struggled to maintain their form going into next year. Horses such as Mum’s Tipple, Palace Pier, Siskin & Earthlight develop. Often horses turning up at the Newmarket fixtures in the autumn are the ones to follow into the Classic season and the ones that have run earlier in the season struggle to maintain the heights. Currently at the time of writing this blog Pinatubo is a 5-4 favourite at best with any bookmaker for the 2,000 Guineas. That is ridiculously short considering we are yet to see how these other promising two-year-olds have fared in top company. Pinatubo has to be the head of the two-year-olds at the moment but as in everything in racing as soon as any horse puts together a brilliant performance we as racing journalists can be guilty of adding to the mass dramatic overhype.
Arc Trials – Is Enable Endangered?
Across the Channel on Sunday saw the Arc Trials at Longchamp with plenty of group action. The Prix de l’Arc Triomphe is often seen as Europe’s ultimate horse race with Enable trying to make history to make it a hat-trick of wins in the famous race. The horse that is likely to get closest to Enable that was seen is Waldgeist for Andre Fabre who made the frame last year. Waldgeist won the Group 2 Prix Foy for the second consecutive year but his form this has shown that is probably isn’t good enough to win the Arc. Star Catcher was the headline name on the day stepping up to claim another Group 1 in the Prix Vermeille for Dettori & Gosden combination. Gosden revealed that he wasn’t probably going to send the three-year-old filly to the Arc who doesn’t hold an entry and will most likely head to Ascot or the US. I think she would be an interested contender if she lined up with the fillies and age allowance but she is yet to take on the colts and the Arc would still be a step up in the class pyramid.