Sir Ron Priestley to Keep St Leger Trophy in Yorkshire
The final classic of the flat racing season takes place on Saturday at Doncaster. The St Leger tests stamina of the three year olds taking part, and this year we have eight scheduled to go to post for the race. With a short priced favourite and eight runners, this race perfectly lends itself to an each way bet for those who are looking to find value away from Logician and that is exactly what I am going to do. After taking a hard look at the race, I am siding with Sir Ron Priestley to take the race, and keep the prize at home in Yorkshire.
There is a lot to like about this horse, and quite a few reasons to back him. The St Leger generally brings together a mixture of horses in terms of their staying ability, and that is exactly the case here. Sir Ron Priestley has shown he does stay this trip already, and based on what he has done this season, he looks like being a group stayer over two miles next season. The two fancied runners in the race, Logician and Sir Dragonet have both never ran over further than 1m4f and that obviously raises a question mark for them.
Logician looked as though he would have no trouble over this trip when winning over 1m4f last time out at York, but the same cannot be said about Sir Dragonet. He didn’t look like a guaranteed stayer when running over 1m4f in the Derby, and then ran disappointingly when dropped to 1m2f last time out. That move to put this horse back to 1m2f looked to be the right one, the move up to 1m6f here doesn’t look to be what he needs. However, it is fair to say that if there is a trainer who you would completely trust then Aidan O’Brien would be up towards the very top of that list. If he thinks that Sir Dragonet will get home over 1m6f and he thinks the horse is well after a disappointing run last time then that will no doubt be good enough for his many followers.
While I do like Logician, other than him being a little too short considering this is his first Group One race and just his fifth start, I am more than happy to take on Sir Dragonet. There are two big question marks over him, with potentially a third if you include what ground he is best on, and that is enough for me to look elsewhere.
Aidan O’Brien also runs Il Paradiso, one of the runners who is guaranteed to get the trip after running well over two miles last time out and because of that, he is likely to make this a true stamina test.
Despite all of this, the horse I keep coming back to is Sir Ron Priestley, who is a rapidly improving animal and continues to pull out more. He’s won five of his six races so far this season, starting off in a Ripon novice race and winning a Group Three at Goodwood in his most recent run. That was over 1m6f, and he’s also won a handicap at Haydock over the same distance, showing that Sir Ron Priestley is going to relish the trip here.
The horse won his first handicap of the season off just 86, and now he comes into this race on a mark of 108. There is nothing to confirm that this horse has stopped improving, so there is every chance that more will come, hopefully on Saturday in this race.
If he runs up to the level we saw from him last time out, Sir Ron Priestley has a great chance to place in this race. However, a little more improvement or a couple of the front runners underperforming and Sir Ron Priestley would have a great chance of going even better and winning the final classic of the season.
Sir Ron Priestley is an exceptionally talented horse, we may not have seen the best of him yet and because of that he looks to be the value in Saturday’s St Leger at Doncaster.
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