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Doncaster

  • 15:50 Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes 1m 6f 132y

  • (British Champions Series) (Group 1) £600,000 added 3yo 11 ran
  • Winner £340,260 2nd £129,000 3rd £64,560 4th £32,160
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 3m 9.20s
  • Off time: 15:50:48

Gosden set to employ his Leger Knowledge

Last Updated: 13/09/13 1:51pm

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John Gosden: Trainer of likely favourite Excess Knowledge

John Gosden: Trainer of likely favourite Excess Knowledge

John Gosden knows more than most people about what it takes to win the Ladbrokes St Leger and he feels Excess Knowledge can handle the gruelling mile and six furlongs at Doncaster.

Set to be James Doyle's first Classic ride in his new position as Khalid Abdullah's retained jockey, and his Leger debut, he is provided with a colt who has only an initial maiden success to show from five career starts.

However, Excess Knowledge showed plenty of promise on his comeback at Sandown and looked notably unlucky in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood when flashing home for a close second to Cap O'Rushes after meeting a multitude of problems.

Gosden, who has claimed three of the last six Legers, said: "When he ran a nice race in the Gordon Stakes it was the next logical step.

"He was making a nice run down the outside in the Gordon Stakes and there was horse wandering around in front of him every time we made a move. I like the way he finished the race, there was no pace and it wasn't a proper test. Bred the way he is, the trip should be within his compass."

This time last year Aidan O'Brien was preparing Camelot for what could have been the first English Triple Crown since Nijinksy in 1970, but he could only finish second to Encke.

The Ballydoyle trainer has a couple of runners headed by Leading Light, who struck over two miles last time in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.

O'Brien said: "He had only gone as far as a mile and a quarter before he went to the Queen's Vase but he got the trip well that day.

"We thought of giving him another run in the Voltigeur but he wasn't 100% at the time. We've been very happy with him over the last few weeks and we always thought Doncaster would suit him."

His representative in last month's Great Voltigeur at York is also present, with Foundry running a more than respectable second to Telescope on what was only the second outing of his life.

O'Brien said: "We were delighted with his run at York. It was his first run of the season and he was running for experience, so we were delighted with how forward he was. Then we thought there was a chance he'd be ready for the Leger.

"He has been in good form since. You would hope that the extra trip at Doncaster will be within his compass. He is a big, long-striding, good-moving horse."

Sheikh Mohammed has enjoyed three wins in his maroon and white colours, while team Godolphin are targeting a record-equalling seventh success.

Following on from Encke are Voltigeur third Secret Number for Saeed Bin Suroor as well as Cap O'Rushes and Libertarian for Charlie Appleby.

Cap O'Rushes was only sixth in the Voltigeur, but Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "He didn't like the ground at York and wasn't letting himself down.

David Wachman has warned a late decision will be made as to Galileo Rock's participation as he is concerned about the ground.

Placed at both Epsom and the Curragh, he is closely related to top Cup horse Saddler's Rock.

"He seems well, and has run well in two Derbies so is very much entitled to take his chance," said Wachman.

"His three-parts brother stays well, so hopefully he does too."

Talent is looking to be the first Oaks winner, and the first filly, to strike Leger gold since User Friendly in 1992 but must erase the memory of her last-placed effort in the Irish equivalent.

Trainer Ralph Beckett said: "She's in good shape but hasn't had the ideal preparation, as I think she would be better with a run under her belt. I was keen to run her in the Yorkshire Oaks but the ground was too quick.

"We have always felt she is a strong stayer and that it is the right race for her, under the right conditions. She just needs a bit of juice.

"I'm not convinced that the ground was the only reason for her poor performance in Ireland, but I wouldn't want to run her on fast ground again until I knew for sure."

Secret Number was behind Cap O'Rushes at Goodwood and Crisford said of him: "He doesn't have any gears, he's a little slow to be a Classic winner. He's bred for a mile and a quarter, that's proved too short, but hopefully he can run a big race as he's very well."

Libertarian, who has joined Appleby from Karl Burke, is on the comeback trail after an abject performance in the Irish Derby.

Crisford said: "If you think the average rating of a Leger winner is 111, he's already 117, so he's good enough to win.

"He was very disappointing in the Irish Derby, the ground was too fast and I can't help thinking maybe his exertions in the early part of the season took their toll.

"He doesn't show anything in a morning, but we know on his (Investec) Derby second and his Dante win that he's top-notch. If he's back to that form he can win, but I can't say I'm convinced."

Andrew Balding's Havana Beat is seen as a live outsider, and the trainer said: "He was unlucky not to win the Bahrain Trophy as he got caught in a pocket and only finished up getting beaten two necks.

"For whatever reason, he ran badly in the Gordon Stakes but he worked very well last Saturday. If he had won the Bahrain Trophy and was going straight for the Leger he wouldn't be a 33/1 shot, he'd be more a 14/1 shot."

Great Hal is on a hat-trick after Newmarket maiden and Haydock handicap successes and trainer Brian Meehan said on his website: "(This) lightly-raced colt missed his intended prep for this Classic when the rains hit York overnight.

"That said, he is not expected to be inconvenienced by a soft surface and has enjoyed a perfect lead up to his big challenge. Hopes are high for a big run."

Pat Shanahan's Ralston Road is the rank outsider, but the Irish trainer said: "He ran a good race in the Irish Derby (seventh), given he had run at Royal Ascot a few days previously.

"It's great he's good enough to compete in this class, he's in super form and will gallop for Ireland."

"If he gets his ground I expect him to run a good race. He was fourth in the Irish Derby, which was a solid effort, he won the Gordon and has the right profile to run a huge race. And he will stay a mile and six.

"I can't claim he's got the same profile as some of our previous winners, he's not rated quite high enough to be winning a Leger, but there's more to come for him and I'd say he has an each-way chance."Sheikh Mohammed has enjoyed three wins in his maroon and white colours, while team Godolphin are targeting a record-equalling seventh success.

Following on from Encke are Voltigeur third Secret Number for Saeed Bin Suroor as well as Cap O'Rushes and Libertarian for Charlie Appleby.

Cap O'Rushes was only sixth in the Voltigeur, but Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "He didn't like the ground at York and wasn't letting himself down.

"If he gets his ground I expect him to run a good race. He was fourth in the Irish Derby, which was a solid effort, he won the Gordon and has the right profile to run a huge race. And he will stay a mile and six.

"I can't claim he's got the same profile as some of our previous winners, he's not rated quite high enough to be winning a Leger, but there's more to come for him and I'd say he has an each-way chance."

Secret Number was behind Cap O'Rushes at Goodwood and Crisford said of him: "He doesn't have any gears, he's a little slow to be a Classic winner. He's bred for a mile and a quarter, that's proved too short, but hopefully he can run a big race as he's very well."

Libertarian, who has joined Appleby from Karl Burke, is on the comeback trail after an abject performance in the Irish Derby.

Crisford said: "If you think the average rating of a Leger winner is 111, he's already 117, so he's good enough to win.

"He was very disappointing in the Irish Derby, the ground was too fast and I can't help thinking maybe his exertions in the early part of the season took their toll.

"He doesn't show anything in a morning, but we know on his (Investec) Derby second and his Dante win that he's top-notch. If he's back to that form he can win, but I can't say I'm convinced."

David Wachman has warned a late decision will be made as to Galileo Rock's participation as he is concerned about the ground.

Placed at both Epsom and the Curragh, he is closely related to top Cup horse Saddler's Rock.

"He seems well, and has run well in two Derbies so is very much entitled to take his chance," said Wachman.

"His three-parts brother stays well, so hopefully he does too."

Talent is looking to be the first Oaks winner, and the first filly, to strike Leger gold since User Friendly in 1992 but must erase the memory of her last-placed effort in the Irish equivalent.

Trainer Ralph Beckett said: "She's in good shape but hasn't had the ideal preparation, as I think she would be better with a run under her belt. I was keen to run her in the Yorkshire Oaks but the ground was too quick.

"We have always felt she is a strong stayer and that it is the right race for her, under the right conditions. She just needs a bit of juice.

"I'm not convinced that the ground was the only reason for her poor performance in Ireland, but I wouldn't want to run her on fast ground again until I knew for sure."

Andrew Balding's Havana Beat is seen as a live outsider, and the trainer said: "He was unlucky not to win the Bahrain Trophy as he got caught in a pocket and only finished up getting beaten two necks.

"For whatever reason, he ran badly in the Gordon Stakes but he worked very well last Saturday. If he had won the Bahrain Trophy and was going straight for the Leger he wouldn't be a 33/1 shot, he'd be more a 14/1 shot."

Great Hal is on a hat-trick after Newmarket maiden and Haydock handicap successes and trainer Brian Meehan said on his website: "(This) lightly-raced colt missed his intended prep for this Classic when the rains hit York overnight.

"That said, he is not expected to be inconvenienced by a soft surface and has enjoyed a perfect lead up to his big challenge. Hopes are high for a big run."

Pat Shanahan's Ralston Road is the rank outsider, but the Irish trainer said: "He ran a good race in the Irish Derby (seventh), given he had run at Royal Ascot a few days previously.

"It's great he's good enough to compete in this class, he's in super form and will gallop for Ireland."


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