Leger Winner Kew Gardens Looks Rock Solid on Chester Return

Kew Gardens was successful in the St Leger last season, adding that title to another Group One win and a Group Two success at Royal Ascot. He had a fantastic season, and comes back as a four year old here looking to resume that. He returns in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Thursday, and looks to be the class act in the field, and he can defy a penalty to take home the prize.

I think this race will determine where the O’Brien camp go with this horse over the rest of this season. He has the speed to run at this kind of distance, and a little shorter, although he could well move up in trip and turn into a two mile stayer, as he has the staying power and class to compete in those races. This trip of 1m5f should be enough of a test for him at this stage in the season, and the tight turning track at Chester will allow him to use his speed in the race to kick away from his rivals.

Talking of his rivals, on official ratings the only one who can get anywhere near him is Magic Circle, who won last year’s Chester Cup with ease before going on to have group success. He is a very smart horse, there is no doubting that but I have my concerns with him over this trip. He will have to be close to his best to get to Kew Gardens here, and whether he can be at his best over 1m5f remains to be seen. He has thrived on trips of two miles and over, he may not quite have the speed for this kind of distance, unless the rain falls drastically and it becomes a real slog to get around. I like Magic Circle, but the trip is off putting for me.

I don’t think too much else can trouble Kew Gardens, even with the penalty he has to shoulder in the race. He looks rock solid and I’m backing him to make a winning return this season in the Ormonde Stakes.