The stage is set for another epic renewal of the world’s oldest Classic at Doncaster.

First contested in 1776 – many moons ago before punters could bet on horses online – the St Leger is the ultimate stamina test for three-year-old thoroughbreds.

This year’s renewal will be held on Saturday, September 16 at 16.20 and looks as competitive as ever.

Here, we assess the main St Leger challengers before nominating our idea of the first three home on Town Moor:


Trainers: John and Thady Gosden
Owners: Wathnan Racing
Odds: 33/10

Seemingly destined for this race since winning on debut at Haydock in April.

Unbeaten run came to an end at York, but there were excuses that day and he will come into his own over this longer trip. The one to beat, but is he now too short in the betting?


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Owners: Coolmore
Odds: 15/4

Claimed the scalp of Gregory in the Voltigeur on the Knavesmire and has the look of an out-and-out stayer with a touch of class.

Did not look at home on the fast ground at York so should be happier with a bit of autumnal cut.


Trainer: William Haggas
Owner: The King
Odds: 53/10

The fairytale winner, but far from a fanciful notion. Stormed home in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot but arguably bettering that performance at Goodwood.

Loved the soft ground that day but equally as adaptable upon quicker terrain.


Trainers: John and Thady Gosden
Owners: Juddmonte
Odds: 8/1

Looked the real deal in the Chester Vase in May, but has since struggled on faster ground in the Derby and at Royal Ascot.

Bounced back in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury, which shows just how important ground conditions are to him. A strong contender if the heavens open.


Trainers: John and Thady Gosden
Owners: Qatar Racing
Odds: 10/1

Arguably the most progressive horse in the line-up, having won so well at Newmarket and in the Melrose at York.

This is an entirely different ball game, though, and he will need to improve by another stone. He’s a guaranteed stayer, though, and will be unfazed by whatever Mother Nature throws at him.


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Owners: Coolmore
Odds: 15/2

Has the best form in the race but has a point to prove after a slightly subdued run from the front in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Whatever happens, she looks a fascinating project if kept in training next season. That fillies have such a poor record in the race is the main sticking point.


Trainers: Simon and Ed Crisford
Owners: Godolphin
Odds: 12/1

Lost nothing in defeat behind Desert Hero at York and does not have a great deal to make up on that form.

Danced every dance before that but was outclassed by Gregory at Royal Ascot. He should thrive over farther, though, and looks a value bet in an open race.


Trainers: John and Thady Gosden
Owner: Anthony Oppenheimer
Odds: 16/1

Defeated stablemate Middle Earth in some style at Kempton in July and was hamstrung by a slow start at Windsor last month.

There is surely more to come and has very few miles on the clock. A lively each-way contender.


Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Owners: Qatar Racing
Odds: 18/1

Exciting colt with a big engine and bags of stamina. Did well to get close to Vauban and Desert Hero at Navan and Royal Ascot respectively.

Has had a hard enough season, though, and looks a little exposed against some of these old rivals.


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Owners: Coolmore
Odds: 25/1

Has gone close to Group One glory this season and is likely to bring the pace angle to the race if he runs.

Looked tired late on at Longchamp last time, however, so has stamina questions to answer if the ground is one the soft side.


Just over a year on following the death of Her Majesty the Queen, we fancy Royal runner DESERT HERO to poignantly win the final Classic of the season.

The King’s stayer has been a revelation this season and is trained by a maestro who has enjoyed a spectacular few months.

GREGORY will love every yard of this trip and can chase him home for the Gosdens.

A wide-open race could also see CHESSPIECE trouble the judge. He ran a blinder behind Desert Hero at Goodwood and is clearly a horse with a bright future over these staying trips.

*Odds subject to change and were correct at the time of publication (05.09.2023)


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