Continuous is in complete control of the Betfred St Leger
Continuous (purple) was well on top in the St Leger

St Leger ratings analysis and Continuous' Arc claims

Tony McFadden looks at how Continuous compares to recent St Leger winners on Timeform's ratings and what sort of claims he would hold on form if connections elect to supplement him for the Arc.

Continuous went into the St Leger as the one to beat on form - he was 5 lb clear on Timeform's ratings following his victory in the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes - and he raised his game another notch to give Aidan O'Brien a seventh victory in the Doncaster Classic.

Continuous earned a Timeform rating of 124 for his emphatic two-and-three-quarter-length defeat of Arrest and that marks him out as an above-average winner of the race, with the ten-year mean winning performance rating coming in at between 121 and 122. It also places Continuous in a prominent position in the three-year-old pecking order with only Ace Impact (129p), Auguste Rodin (128), Paddington (128) and King of Steel (126) rated higher.

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The only St Leger winners in the last decade who registered a higher performance rating than Continuous are Kew Gardens (127) and Hurricane Lane (126). Both of those went on to contest the Arc - Hurricane Lane was a close-up third behind Torquator Tasso while Kew Gardens ran creditably but was unplaced behind Enable - and Continuous could also have Longchamp on his agenda with O'Brien reporting post-race that there was 'every chance' he could be supplemented.

No St Leger winner has ever followed up in the Arc in the same season, while of the nine this century who attempted to double up only Hurricane Lane and Kingston Hill (fourth behind Treve in 2014) managed to hit the frame.

In the favour of Continuous is that he has shown progressive form and surged to the front at Doncaster in the style of a colt who could have more to offer. He'll need to raise his game, though, as there are some top-class rivals in opposition, while the quirk of the calendar this season means there's only a 15-day gap as opposed to the usual 22-day break. Another factor to consider is that three-year-old colts receive 6 lb from the older males at Longchamp, while Timeform's weight-for-age scale suggests the allowance at that stage in October ought to be 7 lb.

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At the head of the pecking order on Timeform's ratings - not just for the Arc but among horses trained in Europe - are Westover (132) and Hukum (131) based on the form they showed when fighting out a thrilling finish to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.

Hukum came out on top that day, shading the verdict by a head, but Westover emerged with the slightly higher figure as according to Timeform's weight-for-age scale four-year-old colts at that stage of the season should be receiving 1 lb from their elders. Whichever way you cut it, the pair both displayed top-class form and teak-tough attitudes to draw four and a half lengths clear of King of Steel with a further three and a quarter lengths back to Luxembourg in a strongly run race on easy ground that tested stamina and resolution. Those attributes are often tested at Longchamp in October as Timeform has described the going for the last three Arcs as at least soft.

The leading French hope is Ace Impact (129p) who has won all five starts for Jean-Claude Rouget, most notably the French Derby on his penultimate outing at Chantilly. He was well on top in the French Derby, scoring by three and a half lengths, and that form has received some hefty boosts since, with runner-up Big Rock also finishing second in the Prix Jacques le Marois and Prix du Moulin, while fourth home Feed The Flame won the Grand Prix de Paris before being left with plenty to do when beaten in the Prix Niel.

Continuous also contested the French Derby but is a different proposition now to the colt who was only eighth at Chantilly. He proved at Doncaster that he's a very smart colt and would be worth his place in an Arc, though he'll probably need to establish himself as the best horse in Europe if he's to create a slice of history in Paris.

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