Foundry to land Leger prize
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt previews the feature action from the final day of Doncaster's St Leger meeting.
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After previous Ladbrokes St Leger victories with Milan, Brian Boru and Scorpion, Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O'Brien is fancied to make it four with FOUNDRY in Saturday's historic centrepiece at Doncaster.
Despite having only the second race of his life, the son of Galileo shaped with great promise when chasing home Telescope in last month's Great Voltigeur Stakes (Secret Number third, Cap O Rushes sixth) which is traditionally the best trial for the longest and the oldest of the five Classics.
Always travelling well that day, the son of Galileo kept on well under pressure and looks open to plenty of improvement.
There is a small doubt about Foundry's stamina on his dam side but he shaped at York as though he could stay further and, if he switches off in the early stages as professionally in the Leger, then he will give himself every chance of staying under Ryan Moore.
Moore takes the mount as Joseph O'Brien remains loyal to stable companion Leading Light aboard whom he won the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot over two miles in June.
Clearly, this son of Montjeu's stamina is assured but, while unbeaten in his three starts this season, this represents a much tougher task in my view for all that he appears highly regarded.
Previous Classic form is represented by Libertarian and Galileo Rock, who finished second and third behind Ruler Of The World in the Derby, and by the Oaks winner Talent.
The form of both races has taken a few knocks; Galileo Rock went onto finish a fine second behind Trading Leather in the Irish Derby at The Curragh but the Epsom first and second both ran well below form there while Talent flopped badly when finishing last in the Irish Oaks.
Both Libertarian and Talent should be ideally suited to this stamina test but their reliability has to be questioned and Galileo Rock, a close relation of smart stayer Saddlers Rock, seems more consistent.
David Wachman's colt would definitely be a leading contender here stepping up in trip though connections are a little concerned that the ground will be softer than ideal and he could be re-routed to Sunday's Irish St Leger.
In recent years, John Gosden has been the trainer to follow in the St Leger with three winners (Lucarno, Arctic Cosmos and Masked Marvel) in the last six runnings and should be thereabouts once again with Excess Knowledge who looked an unlucky loser when beaten by Cap O'Rushes in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood (Secret Number fifth, Havana Beat seventh).
The Monsun colt was having just his fifth start that day and is one of the more obvious improvers in the field along with the selection.
Godolphin also have a solid Leger record and Cap O'Rushes, Libertarian and Secret Number all have chances for 'the boys in blue' if reproducing their best form. Secret Number was only half a length behind Foundry at York.
Earlier, DOC HAY is fancied to repeat last year's victory in the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap off just a 3lb higher mark.
The David O'Meara-trained gelding has not been at his best in several outings on fast ground this season but was far-from-disgraced when seventh (beaten four lengths) in a listed event at Beverley last month - his first run for 10 weeks.
With ground conditions turning in his favour - all his wins have come on good or softer - and very likely to have been trained for this by his astute handler, Doc Hay looks set to go very close again.