Adam Kirby celebrates as Adayar wins the Cazoo Derby
Adam Kirby celebrates as Adayar wins the Cazoo Derby

Cazoo St Leger preview: Derby winners top entries

Godolphin stars Hurricane Lane and Adayar headline 31 entries for the world’s oldest Classic, the Group One Cazoo St Leger, at Doncaster on Saturday, September 11.

First run in 1776, the extended 14-furlong contest is the highlight of the four-day Cazoo St Leger Festival and has a total prize fund of £700,000.

Ante-post favourite Hurricane Lane has gone from strength to strength since finishing third behind stablemate Adayar in the Cazoo Derby, winning the Irish Derby at the Curragh on June 26 and the Grand Prix de Paris emphatically on July 14.

Adayar meanwhile has been kept fresh since the Derby and is set to take on older opposition in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes at Ascot on June 24. No horse has completed the Derby-St Leger double since Reference Point, who also won the Ascot feature on route to Doncaster in 1987.

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Trainer Charlie Appleby has yet to taste St Leger glory while Godolphin has captured the staying prize six times, most recently with Encke in 2012.

Kew Gardens provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with a sixth St Leger triumph in 2018. The master of Ballydoyle has 13 contenders in total, headed by Kew Gardens’ full-brother Wordsworth and G1 Cazoo Oaks third Divinely.

Having landed the spoils last year with Galileo Chrome, Joseph O’Brien could bid for a repeat success with Okita Soushi. The Galileo colt is totally unexposed after winning a maiden by four and half lengths on his debut at Fairyhouse on June 11.

O’Brien said : “Okita Soushi is declared to run in a mile and five-furlong race at Leopardstown on Thursday, so we’ll see how he gets on there. He won his maiden nicely and we think he has the makings of a nice stayer, although whether he is going to be quite ready for a St Leger remains to be seen. We felt it was worth making an entry as we wanted to keep our options open.”

The home challenge also features Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle (Martyn Meade) and King Edward VII Stakes victor Alenquer (William Haggas), who stayed on well to take third behind Hurricane Lane at Longchamp.

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The Cazoo St Leger is under consideration for Mojo Star. The son of Sea The Stars belied his maiden status to finish a clear second behind Adayar at Epsom Downs and met trouble in running when fifth in the Irish Derby on his latest start.

Trainer Richard Hannon said today: “The St Leger is on the radar for Mojo Star. We have given him the entry and we’ll see how we go. He has come out of Ireland fine and had a little break since then. I am not too sure where he is going to run next, but I am pleased with him.”

Other entries to note include Chester Vase victor Youth Spirit (Andrew Balding) and Moshaawer (Roger Varian), an eye-catching novice race winner at Doncaster on July 2.

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