Beckett puts his faith in Simple Verse for St Leger

THIRD time lucky? Trainer Ralph Beckett certainly hopes that this is the case after his decision to supplement Simple Verse added some frisson to the Ladbrokes 
St Leger field.

Andrea Atzeni wears the St Leger winning jockey hat watched by Roger Varian the trainer of Kingston Hill in 2014.
Andrea Atzeni wears the St Leger winning jockey hat watched by Roger Varian the trainer of Kingston Hill in 2014.

Her enterprising entry looks to compensate Beckett for the two losses suffered by both of his Epsom Oaks heroines at Doncaster – Look Here finished third in 2008 and Talent was runner-up in 2013.

No filly has won the world’s oldest Classic since Yorkshire’s George Duffield and User Friendly prevailed in 1992, but this could be the year – just eight horses have stood their ground for this Saturday’s renewal of the world’s oldest Classic.

Simple Verse looked to have stamina in abundance when winning at Goodwood last month and will be ridden by Andrea Atzeni, who won last year’s St Leger on Kingston Hill; he is retained by Qatar Racing, who own the filly.

“I think once we established that she was in good nick it became the obvious thing to do,” said Beckett. “She did a good piece of work nine days ago and I was very pleased with that. I think physically she has come forward for both her recent runs.

“She is not ground dependant either as she has won on fast ground and slow ground.

“With the fact she is progressive and that she is a certain stayer it seemed like the right thing to do. This filly is going forward and we have not had a blip with her. We are pretty sure she is in good shape.”

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for three of the eight horses confirmed, with impressive Irish 
St Leger Trial winner Order Of 
St George joined by stable companions Fields Of Athenry and Bondi Beach, who was narrowly beaten by Storm The Stars in a controversial finish to York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes at the Ebor Festival.

Although Storm The Stars, placed in both the English and Irish Derbies, has long been touted as England’s best St Leger candidate, connections of the William Haggas-trained colt are concerned that their horse has already had eight arduous races and this could be one test too many.

“The signs are that he should be better over further but it’s the end of a long hard year and he doesn’t owe us anything,” said the trainer’s phlegmatic wife Maureen. “If we get one more good run out of him that would be great.”

The home team is made up by David Brown’s Medrano and Proposed for Richard Hannon, while French trainer Mikel Delzangles – who served his apprenticeship with the late Jimmy Fitzgerald in Malton – has left in Vengeur Masque.

The Queen’s Ebor Festival winner Recorder will miss the rest of the season after suffering a training setback following his stylish display in York’s Acomb States.

Trained by Skipton-born William Haggas, the horse’s win earned quotes for next season’s 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby.

Haggas had mentioned the National Stakes at the Curragh as an end-of-season target, but that plan has been shelved.

“He had a setback after York and is off games with an injury for the rest of the season,” said the trainer. “However, I hope very much to have him back for the 2,000 Guineas and hopefully the Derby as well.”