John Gosden aims to have three runners in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster
Last Updated: 27/08/14 1:51pm
John Gosden aims to have three runners in the Ladbrokes St Leger as he looks to win the world's oldest Classic for a fifth time at Doncaster on September 13.
The Newmarket handler is set to call on Derby third Romsdal, March Stakes winner Forever Now and also Marzocco in a bid to supplement his triumphs on Town Moor with Shantou in 1996, Lucarno (2007), Arctic Cosmos (2010) and Masked Marvel (2011).
"We've got three horses in the race who all belong in it," Gosden said.
"Romsdal ran a great race in the Derby and ran very well at Chester. He didn't run a good race in the King George. He got done on that looser ground and spun his wheels. Hughesie (Richard Hughes) wasn't happy with him so he left him alone.
"He's a legitimate horse for the race and we've always had the Derby, the King George and then the Leger as his plan.
"Forever Now won very well the other day in the March Stakes, which is a proper trial for the Leger. He stays well, the one-mile-six and 132 yards will not bother him one bit and he's got a grand attitude.
"He's an immature horse, but he's an improving horse and he belongs in the race.
"Marzocco was staying on again in the Voltigeur. He's a very idle horse, very laid-back and he doesn't seem to wake up until the race is virtually over.
"The plan for the moment is those three horses will run. They all have legitimate claims."
Gosden took out King Edward VII Stakes scorer Eagle Top and Cloudscape at the latest acceptance stage, after which 21 horses remain.
He respects the claims of ante-post favourite Kingston Hill, but there is no guarantee any horse will stay the extended mile and three-quarters of the Doncaster showpiece.
"Kingston Hill is a very solid horse and won the Racing Post Trophy there. I assume he'll stay. It's not totally guaranteed. You truly don't find out in the Leger until you come to between the two-furlong pole and the one," Gosden told At The Races.
"If he stays, he's a very legitimate favourite, but you never know."
However, Kingston Hill's rider Andrea Atzeni believes the Roger Varian-trained colt will have enough stamina.
"He ran a great race in the Derby and the way he stayed up the hill, he has every chance of staying a mile and six," Atzeni said.
"The way he travels and the way he settles, I think the trip won't be a problem. As long as the ground isn't firm and it's good racing ground, I wouldn't worry about it."
Sir Michael Stoute, who broke his St Leger jinx with Conduit in 2008, is represented by Snow Sky, winner of the Gordon Stakes and runner-up in the Great Voltigeur, and March Stakes third Kings Fete.
Both horses are owned by Khalid Abdullah, whose racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "Snow Sky has come out of York well and the plan is to run in the St Leger.
"He settled very well and got into a nice rhythm in the Great Voltigeur. He joined Postponed two furlongs out but the winner quickened well.
"We stayed on well to the line and were gaining at the end, so I thought it was quite encouraging.
"We are all going to find out on the day if he will stay but given the type of horse he is and his pedigree, I think he has a pretty good chance of staying a mile and three quarters.
"Kings Fete has got to settle better if he is going to get the trip. He was a bit silly at Goodwood the other day but has some talent and we won't discount him.
"At this stage, I would say it is unlikely but it has not been ruled out and we have left him in for good reason.
"We tried him in a ring-bit instead of the hood at the weekend. I don't think you want to overburden a horse with too many contraptions otherwise you get too clever, but obviously the ring-bit wasn't quite so successful."
Mark Johnston is three-handed with Queen's Vase winner Hartnell, who disappointed in the Voltigeur at York last week, Coral-Eclipse third Somewhat and March Stakes second Alex My Boy.
Aidan O'Brien, who saddled his fourth Ladbrokes St Leger winner with Leading Light in 2013, has five entries - Irish Derby runner-up Kingfisher, Adjusted, Blue Hussar, Granddukeoftuscany and Indian Maharaja.
Others in the mix include John Oxx's Streetcar To Stars and Godolphin's sole possible, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Winter Thunder.