Thursday, 26 July 2012
: Camelot heads 36 entries for this year's Group One Ladbrokes St Leger as the outstanding unbeaten colt bids to become the first winner of the Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970.
| Camelot wins the Irish Derby|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Aidan O'Brien's charge has swept aside the opposition in five starts and followed up a neck success in the mile QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in early May with a stunning five-length victory in the Investec Derby over an extra half-mile at Epsom Downs the following month.
The three-year-old son of Montjeu would enter the history books as only the 16th horse to win those two Classics and the Ladbrokes St Leger, run over a mile, six furlongs and 132 yards at Doncaster on Saturday, September 15. He is currently the 2/5 favourite with Ladbrokes.
On his previous visit to Town Moor, Camelot posted an easy and impressive victory in the Group One Racing Post Trophy in October, 2011 - a performance that saw him crowned joint champion European two-year-old.
The Ladbrokes St Leger is the world's oldest Classic, having been founded in 1776, and has prize money of £550,000 this year.
O'Brien, if successful in the Ladbrokes St Leger, will become the first trainer to win all five of Britain's Classics in a year.
Mark Spincer, managing director at Doncaster Racecourse, commented: "We are very excited that the 2012 Ladbrokes St Leger is panning out to be a moment in history, with the unbeaten Camelot
aiming to become the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky 42 years ago.
"The quality and breadth of the entries is very pleasing. John Gosden, trainer of the Ladbrokes St Leger winner for the last two years, has made five entries for the 2012 Classic, including the in-form Great Heavens, Michelangelo and Shantaram.
"It is also excellent news to see an entry, Estimate, from Her Majesty The Queen and we would be delighted to welcome the owner at Doncaster.
"It is all systems go at Doncaster Racecourse and we've experienced a surge in ticket sales since Camelot won the Derby and then again following his victory in the Irish Derby.
"A sell-out crowd is expected and plans are in place to deal with full capacity. We are in discussions with the council about expanding into additional areas if necessary.
"We are also looking forward to welcoming HRH The Princess Royal on the opening day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Wednesday, September 12, when she will be present to support the Legends charity race in her role as Patron of the Injured Jockeys Fund."
Mike Dillon of Ladbrokes added: "The very high quality of this year's entries confirms the renaissance of the Ladbrokes St Leger.
"To have 36 entered - the same number as last year - when everyone knows that Camelot is going for the Triple Crown is marvellous.
"The 2012 Ladbrokes St Leger is shaping into one of the best renewals in recent memory which is very exciting."
O'Brien, successful in the Ladbrokes St Leger with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005), is responsible for 11 entries including Group One Grand Prix de Paris scorer Imperial Monarch, Investec Derby third Astrology, Father Of Science and the unexposed Chamonix.
Sir Henry Cecil has been successful in the Ladbrokes St Leger on four occasions with Light Cavalry (1980), Oh So Sharp (1985), Reference Point (1987) and Michelozzo (1989). He could this year be represented by Thomas Chippendale, who beat stable-companion and fellow Ladbrokes St Leger contender Noble Mission by half a length in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 22.
Barry Simpson, racing manager to the colt's owner Sir Robert Ogden, commented: "It's quite possible that Thomas Chippendale will head to Doncaster.
"We have two races in mind him - the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood (July 31) and the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York (August 22) - and at the moment he will probably run at York. He would have to win or be a very unlucky loser in either of those races to warrant going for the Ladbrokes St Leger.
"He has come out of Royal Ascot in great shape. He's an uncomplicated horse, who is very straightforward and I don't think that we would have any concern about his stamina for the Ladbrokes St Leger.
"Our view is that he is pretty good over a mile and a half and that he has a good turn of foot over that distance. I don't think that an extra two furlongs will make an awful lot of difference to him but you don't know until you try over that trip.
"He is a continuously improving horse. Sir Henry started him off with a good education last season and we were a little late in starting him this season, due to the ground conditions and the fact that he had an eating problem, so he couldn't take his work in the early part of the season.
"We have seen some good middle-distance performances this year and it wouldn't matter who we came up against at Doncaster - we would fear them all because they wouldn't line up if they didn't justify being there. There is always a horse to beat - you can be a 1/8 chance in a maiden and still get beaten."
John Gosden is bidding to win the Ladbrokes St Leger for a third consecutive year and a fifth time in total following the victories of Shantou (1996), Lucarno (2007), Arctic Cosmos (2010) and Masked Marvel, who broke the course record in 2011.
The Newmarket trainer looks to have another strong hand, with five contenders including the filly Great Heavens, who ran on strongly for a convincing success in the Group One Irish Oaks at the Curragh on July 22.
Michelangelo posted a comfortable win in a Listed contest at Goodwood in May before taking a valuable sales race at Newmarket the following month, while Shantaram advanced his claims for Doncaster with an impressive victory in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket's July Festival. Dartford and Investec Derby fourth Thought Worthy complete the Gosden quintet.
David Lanigan enjoyed the biggest success of his training career to date with Meeznah's win in the Group Two DFS Park Hill Stakes during last year's Ladbrokes St Leger Festival and the trainer could bid for more Doncaster glory with Investec Derby runner-up Main Sequence.
Dunfermline provided the Queen with a popular Ladbrokes St Leger victory in the year of her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Her Majesty could mark her Diamond Jubilee with another Classic success on Town Moor with another filly, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Estimate, successful in the Group Three Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot on June 22.
Godolphin has stuck five times in the Ladbrokes St Leger with Classic Cliche (1995), Nedawi (1998), Mutafaweq (1999), Rule Of Law (2004) and Mastery (2009). Five entries from the global racing operation include Energizer, who transferred to Mahmood Al Zarooni shortly after his victory for Jens Hirschberger in the Group Three Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 21.
The 15 Irish-trained entries also include the John Oxx-trained pair of Group Three Curragh Gold Cup victor Hartani and Call To Battle, whose owner Neil Jones saw his colours carried to victory in the St Leger by Millenary in 2000.
Jim Bolger has given an entry to Light Heavy, who captured the Group Two Derrinstown Derby Trial before coming home third behind Camelot in the Irish Derby.
The Ladbrokes St Leger is the feature race of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster which runs from Wednesday, September 12 through to Saturday, September 15. For more information go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk