The Betfred St Leger – the fifth and final Classic of the Flat season in Britain – is just over a month away and Betfred’s Owen McMahon has picked out one at a price for the race at Doncaster on 16 September 2023.
In Gregory – a Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot who’s unbeaten in three starts – John & Thady Gosden have the current antepost favourite for the 2023 Betfred St Leger.
His chance is clear for all to see, but at this early stage it’s stablemate LION’S PRIDE that takes my fancy at a significantly greater price.
The three-year-old son of the late Roaring Lion has only ran twice to date, but he brings a red-hot piece of form to the table and fits comfortably under the ‘could be anything’ bracket.
The piece of form in question was a five-runner affair on the all-weather at Kempton in July, when Lion’s Pride beat two subsequent winners with ease.
Middle Earth, also for team Gosden, was 3L behind the selection and has since seen off Baaeed’s half-brother Naqeeb, who was 4/7f, at Newmarket in July with the rest of the field over 9L behind.
Andrew Balding’s The Goat, who was just a nose behind Middle Earth that day, followed up with a devastating 12L success in a competitive handicap at Glorious Goodwood the other week.
The short of it? That was a strong race at Kempton, and Lion’s Pride made winning it look like a piece of work.
Obviously, this represents a significant step up in class. However, I feel he’s already produced a performance worthy of a three-figure rating and being so lightly-raced he’s still open to significant amounts of improvement.
He’s yet to run over further than 1m3f, so the extra three furlongs the Betfred St Leger test provides is a slight question mark, but after rewatching that Kempton novice – and the fact he’s bred for it as a half-brother to Ascot Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami – I don’t think it will be a bother.
In an ideal world, Lion’s Pride would have Frankie Dettori on board, but that looks unlikely with Gregory present. Time will tell who is picked to ride, be it Robert Havlin or the next best available jockey, but I suspect whoever gets the honour has a real chance of winning a Classic.