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Early Look At The 2018 St Leger Contenders

June 26 - The final Classic of the British flat horse racing season is by far the sternest test of a three-year-old thoroughbred's mettle. Come the middle of September, the spotlight is fixed on Doncaster and the extended 1m 6f St Leger. To get that trip, you have to stay because it's a real galloping track at the Yorkshire course.

While the Leger picture will become clearer as the summer progresses, there are already potential ante post punts to consider for this year's renewal, which takes places on Saturday, 15 September.

Middleham trainer Mark Johnston has a so-nearly horse in Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee, but the way he finished off that performance in the premier Classic suggests stepping him up in trip could easily suit.

It was the third time as a three-year-old that Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's colt had made the frame and got within 1 1/2 lengths of the winner. There definitely looks like a big race to be won with Dee Ex Bee and he is shaping more and more like a stayer with every outing.

As the 6/1 ante post favourite for the St Leger, provided he continues to go the right way, then sportsbets4free.co.uk will have offers and free bets aplenty on Dee Ex Bee.

Champion Irish flat trainer Aidan O'Brien has had five Leger winners this century, so anything he sends to Doncaster will command obvious respect. Handsome Newmarket 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior was being primed for a Triple Crown bid only for it to falter on the second leg when he was a well-held fourth in The Derby.

Of the many alternatives in O'Brien ranks who could be under consideration for the St Leger, one that catches the eye is Southern France. After winning two of his first three starts, over one-and-a-half miles and 1m 5f, there is already plenty of evidence to suggest he stays. Having taken the step up into Listed company in his stride, Southern France looks overpriced at 20/1 in the St Leger ante post betting and there are question marks hanging over possible O'Brien runners. Nelson has had his problems this season, while Delano Roosevelt was well off the pace when sixth in The Derby at Epsom.

John Gosden has trained three of the last 11 Leger winners and may have a potentially unexposed contender this year in the China Horse Club International owned Raa Atoll.

Much will depend on how he does if sent to Royal Ascot, but his always prominent performance at Leicester when winning over 1m 4f stands him in good stead. Gosden's yard is going well this season despite star filly Enable missing the early months of the campaign, but that is creating opportunities for other horses to make headlines.

Raa Atoll's progressive profile does not include any runs as a juvenile, so we'll learn more about his credentials if steps up in class once more.

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  • 2018/06/26 10:21:44 PM
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