The St Leger is the oldest Classic in the world and on Saturday the race could be won by one of the best trainers. Kew Gardens is the favourite and in the care of Aidan O’Brien who holds the record for the most Group 1 and Grade 1 winners in a calender year. Kew Gardens has the form to add to his tally of top level wins but it will take a good horse to beat Lah Ti Dar who has been declared to run.
Lah Ti Dar is a filly which means she gets three pounds from the male horses. There is an argument for making championship races level weights contests but the age and gender allowances have stood the test of time. Only horses aged three can run in the five British Classics which means no horse receives weight based on age. Over one mile and six furlongs three pounds should not make much difference but the advantage could be crucial in a tight finish.
In the last few years fillies aged three have won some major races. If you combine both allowances they can be carrying up to one stone less than the older colts. Treve won her Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a female horse aged three. She was good enough to win the race the following year without the age allowance. Enable is trying to emulate Treve in this year’s Arc next month. The filly looks unbeatable receiving weight and would be a leading contender without the allowance.
Enable raced for the first time after an eleven month injury absence at Kempton last Saturday. She beat the high class Crystal Ocean but the runner-up produced the best rating because of the weight concession. The race was the best ever run on an All-Weather track in Britain and an ideal prep race for the Arc. Enable is a worthy favourite and can win the Arc for the second time. Treve failed in an attempt for a third win and if Enable is kept in training as a five year old she could complete the treble. If Lah Ti Dar wins the St Leger the Arc could be the next target.
Lah Ti Dar is trained by John Gosden who has won the St Leger four times. The horse could have run at Longchamp on Arc trails day but the unbeaten filly will take on Kew Gardens at Doncaster. This was fantastic news for bookmakers including William Hill. The final Classic is now competitive and the Hills spokesman spoke for the industry in the Racing Post this week:
“We couldn’t be happier that she’s running. It’s a great result for us. We didn’t think she’d run earlier this week – its fantastic news”.
Punters have latched on to Lah Ti Dar’s form and potential and many have been swayed by the three pounds fillies’ allowance. The horse has won her three career races by 18 lengths in total. The ground will be suitable at Doncaster on Saturday and the high-class filly could be too good for her male opponents. Dee Ex Bee brings Derby form to the race and the colt was second at Epsom. Old Persian ran an impressive trail at York last month.
However, the race revolves around Kew Gardens but on ratings Lag Ti Dar with her sex allowance is now the horse to beat.