On Saturday the world’s oldest classic goes to post as Doncaster hosts the St Leger Stakes, the showpiece of the St Leger Festival and the final leg of the British triple crown.
There is no triple crown contender this year, but there are two standout performers as classy mare Lah Ti Dar and Group 1 winner Kew Gardens head the St Leger 2018 betting. Want to know if they’re the best bets? Read on for our betting tips:
First run in 1776, the St Leger is the world’s oldest Classic, open only to three-year-old colts and fillies and run over an extended 1m6f at Doncaster Racecourse. Coming after the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks, and Epsom Derby it is commonly thought of as the final leg of the British triple crown for three-year-olds.
It is now worth £743,00 and forms part of the season-long British Champions Series, leading up to British Champions Day at Ascot in October.
The St Leger roll of honour is open to fillies, but dominated by males, as not many take their chance. Simple Verse was the last filly to win, back in 2015, but prior to her victory you have to go back to 1992 and User Friendly.
During the 1980s there was also triple crown winner Oh So Sharp and the late Dick Hern-trained Sun Princess. On the whole though, the season’s best fillies don’t compete. However, this year one will, and she must be respected.
Lah Ti Dar, daughter of top-class middle-distance mare Dar Re Me, is joint favourite to win Saturday’s St Leger with all leading betting sites. Coming into this race off the back of three impressive victories, she is no bigger than 2/1 with MintBet - and that’s value you can’t pass up.
At York last month, Lah Ti Dar pulled 10 lengths clear of her rivals over 1m4f, suggesting that she would be up to tackling Group 1 company, while there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree, which should help with this step up in distance.
Her trainer John Gosden has won the St Leger four times, including in back-to-back years courtesy of Arctic Cosmos (2010) and Masked Marvel (2011). He knows what it takes to produce a Classic star, and my money is on him - and her.
Don’t entirely discount the other filly in the field; Maid Up lacks the class of some of her male rivals, but she was the winner of a Group 3 contest over 1m6f at Goodwood last month and the extra half furlong looks well within her grasp stamina wise. She’s a 25/1 shot with Bet 365.
Kew Gardens is the other favourite in the St Leger betting. Like Lah Ti Dar, he’s a general 15/8 shot with most horse racing bookies, but MintBet offer a top price of 9/4 about a victory for Aidan O’Brien’s charge.
Most recently, Kew Gardens finished third in York’s St Leger trial, the 1m4f Great Voltigeur Stakes, and with the ground conditions likely to suit, it’s easy to see why he is trading so short.
Before York, he won at the highest level, winning the prestigious Grand Prix de Paris over 1m4f at Longchamp back in July. Prior to that, the son of Galileo won the big early-season staying prize for his age group, the Queens Vase over 1m6f at Royal Ascot.
He pulled well clear of stablemate Southern France that day, that rival re-opposing here. He is 14/1 with Bet 365, but shaped as he needed a longer trip at Ascot. He looks likely to prove better over in excess of two miles in time.
If you’re looking for a value each-way bet in the St Leger markets, then a horse who defeated Kew Gardens last time out could pay. Old Persian, priced at 7/1 with Bet 365, had Kew Gardens in behind when winning the Great Voltigeur last month. It was his second victory at Group 2 level, having also won at Royal Ascot in June.
The New Approach colt had won a Listed contest over 1m2f at the same venue and, while he has yet to be tested at the highest level, he open to improvement stepping up in distance.
Loxley also handles both quick and softer ground, so any rain between now and Saturday afternoon wouldn’t inconvenience his chance. He has sneaked under the radar, having done much of his racing in France this season and he looks a solid each-way selection in this year’s St Leger betting.