LAH TI DAR is set to take her place in the William Hill St Leger tomorrow (Saturday) after connections made an abrupt about turn late on Wednesday and decided to send the star filly to Doncaster.
Trainer John Gosden was expected to head Sunday’s Prix Vermeille at Longchamp with the apple of Sir Lloyd-Webber’s eye rather than attempting to pick up a belated win in the world’s oldest Classic.
The longer trip is likely to be no barrier despite the fact her family were all campaigned over shorter, and she’s a big contender at 11/4 with Carrigill’s.
As was the case 12 months ago, when Group 1-winning form was brought to the table by Capri and Stradivarius who landed the Irish Derby and Goodwood Cup respectively on their most recent starts, this year’s renewal features two horses that have a top-level win to their name this season; one of which is KEW GARDENS.
He made as little impact in the Derby at Epsom as he had in two warm-up runs for the race but announced himself on the scene in style when a well-backed four-and-a-half length winner of the Queen’s Vase over this trip at Royal Ascot in June.
He duly followed up in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in July – his Group 1 win – and improved again (under the burden of a 5lb penalty) when one-and-a-half lengths third to OLD PERSIAN in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last time, left with a lot to do in relation to the first two home.
The second Group 1 winner in the field is LATROBE, trained by Aidan’s son Joseph O’Brien – who became the longest-priced winner of the Irish Derby since Frozen Fire in 2008.
Also, of interest is DEE EX BEE, a very smart performer who finished second to Masar in the Derby at Epsom in June, but he hasn’t matched that form since, going in snatches when four-and-a-half lengths second to Cross Counter in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time.
That form has been franked by the winner since, though, and it’s interesting that Mark Johnston has given the long-striding colt a break since that run, and he has shaped for some time as if he will be suited by the longer trip here.
Of the others, connections paid £50,000 to supplement MAID UP for this race on Monday, a bold decision despite the filly’s progressive profile, but PROSCHEMA caught my eye with his third under a big weight in the Melrose.
I can see him surprising a few people, especially if there was a bit of ease in the ground although good would be fine, and he is my value each way bet at 50’s with Carrigill’s
Ryan Moore has a full book of rides today (Friday) and his best chance may be PIVOINE. A gelding operation seems to have helped him get his act together, though he was also running in a first-time visor when winning well at Kempton recently. He is only 3lb higher here – his all-weather mark went up 7lb – and his earlier Bath fourth suggests he can do it on turf, too. I think this flat galloping track with a bit of cut will suit him.
CARRIGILL’S NAP: (Stake returned as a free bet if selection does not finish in the top 4): LAH TI DAR, Saturday, St Leger, Doncaster, 3.35.
AUGUR’S BEST BET: PROSCHEMA (e/w) Saturday, St Leger, Doncaster, 3.35.