The final English Classic race of 2021 takes place at Doncaster on Saturday, September 11. The St Leger is run over a mile and six furlongs and Hurricane Lane is the hot favourite to win the race. Let’s take a look at the leading contenders for this race.
The favourite to win the St Leger is trained by Charlie Appelby and owned by Godolphin. This horse was sired by the legendary Frankel but is its dam that is important here. That’s because Gale Force was a winner over long distances and that’s a key factor for the St Leger. Seeing out the 14 furlongs is so important in this race, but this runner shouldn’t have any stamina problems.
Hurricane Lane has won five out of six races, the only defeat being when finishing third in the 2021 Epsom Derby. Both of his front shoes came off in that race, so the poor run can be excused. Since that defeat, Hurricane Lane has won the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. The ground is always an important factor, and this runner has had successes on good ground but also very soft and heavy, so a few rainy days won’t be a concern at all.
Hurricane Lane’s only defeat came in the Epsom Derby, and it was Adayar who was the winner that day. It wasn’t a win that was expected but he has followed up that win with success in the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot. Mishriff finished second in that race and has since won a Group 1 race at York.
Adayar is also trained by Charlie Appelby, and it will be interesting to see which of his runners will have William Buick on board as he rode Hurricane Lane in the Epsom Derby. Can Adayar be as effective over this longer distance as he has been over a mile and a half? Looking at his pedigree, there has to be doubts over this being the case. Not since 1987 has a horse won the Epsom Derby and the St Leger in the same season.
Hurricane Lane and Adayar would be good picks for an accumulator. It’s thrilling if all your selections are winners, leaving just one to be successful. There will be some good odds available for the St Leger so including this race would be interesting. It’s good to read some information about backing racing accumulators to increase your chances of winning.
Trained by Johnny Murtagh, Ottoman Empire is yet to taste defeat on turf. All four of his races have been won, the most recent being a Group 3 success at Glorious Goodwood. This is a big step up in class though for a horse that won a handicap race at Gowran Park in June. His trainer believes that his runner has a live chance of winning this classic but is probably best to be backed each way.
This Richard Hanon-trained runner finished second behind Adayar in the Epsom Derby. Since then, he’s finished fifth nine and a half lengths behind Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby but was hampered in that race. Mojo Star won his first ever race last time out at Newbury in a Class 3 maiden stakes, a level way below this Group 1 race. Seeing out the distance isn’t entirely certain but could be a good each-way bet.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won this race five times. He has plenty of entries this year. Sir Lucan could be the one that improves over this longer distance. Last time out, he finished fourth in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York this week. That was run over 12 furlongs and he put in a strong performance towards the end of the race. More favourable evidence is a win over 11 furlongs earlier this year, so lasting out an extra furlong looks more than likely.
Wordsworth is another O’Brien runner. He was second in that 11-furlong race won by his stablemate Sir Lucan but only lost by a neck. Travelling an extra furlong looks possible but Sir Lucan looks the better prospect and has been beaten by other leading contenders mentioned in this article.
This is the oldest classic and was first run in 1776. Another exciting race looks likely this year, so make sure you don’t miss the St Leger on Saturday September 11.