Friday, September 14, 2012

St Leger 2012 Preview

This week-end looks loaded, the highlight of which might be the history-in-the-making of Camelot who will attempt to complete the Triple Crown of British racing. In any ordinary year, this would have been the major talking point of the racing community and unbeaten Ballydoyle superstar would have drawn comparisons with the greatest to have graced the turf, among the likes of Nijinski, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard. But understandably, with his spectacular exploits, it is Frankel who's magnetized public hearts. A victory on Saturday will give some credence to his growing legion of fans that he deserves to be considered in the same breadth as the Juddmonte superstar and the almighty that have ever raced.

Many pundits agree that only the distance can beat Camelot; i.e, he will win if he stays the 1m6f trip. The way he's won his races, I strongly believe that the extra 2 furlongs from the Derby trip will not cause him any problem. I have no stamina concerns for this son of Montjeu; he should have enough class to run the Doncaster classic fast. The field looks strong and even; here are my views on the other contenders.

Dartford - pacemaker, no chance.

Encke is the Godolphin representative. He looks better suited for the mile and a half, and has not shown enough to be a leading contender here. He will be flattered by a place spot at best.

Guarantee is a winner of 3 out of 4 races from the Highclere connections. This is a big step up in class for this distance winner but it would not be surprising if he got into the placings. If one is looking for a Place long-shot, he's the one, but it's hard to see him past Camelot if the latter runs his race.

Main Sequence is one that the market fancies a lot, but which is a lay for me. He came out second in the Derby and is inferior to Camelot. Given his pedigree, I have strong reservations he's going to last the distance. The layers should pounce on it.

Michelangelo will be ridden by Dettori after being out-preferred by Buick. I believe he's the horse that can cause an upset. He's clearly a progressive high-class colt that will get better with time. He came out a disappointing third in his last race at Goodwood, deterred by the undulations of the course, according to his trainer. After Camelot, he looks to be the best talented horse in the race. I think he's a live Place chance.

From what he's shown so far, Thomas Chippendale is not sure to last the distance. I think he's several pounds behind many of the contenders and will be flattered to be in the first 4 here.

Thoughtworthy, John Gosden's main string, is the full-brother to Lucarno who won this race a few years ago. Distance should not be a problem. He won the Great Volitgeur stakes, the main trial for this race, beating a few of his challengers quite impressively. He must be considered in any exotic, but I personally don't think he'll win.

Ursa Major comes from the Irish shores having won the Irish St Leger trial and will not start beaten. He's not entitled to get the soft conditions on which he's always run on turf. He will have no problem distance-wise but it remains to be seen how much class he's got. The dark horse of the race.

His connections look quietly bullish, his jockey seems level-headed and accomplished enough not to be taken by the stakes at hand. Camelot is no ordinary horse. The conditions look set for him to stamp his name among the all-time greats. It will take an exceptional horse to beat him on Saturday. I don't think there is one besides him in the race, so I think he will win. For the places, Michelangelo looks value at current odds.

Win: Camelot
Place: Michelangelo

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