HURRICANE Lane is the star name among 13 confirmations for the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster – the final domestic Classic of the 2021 season.
Charlie Appleby’s charge has won four of his five starts this year, including the Dante Stakes at York, and his only defeat coming when third behind stablemate Adayar in the Derby at Epsom in early June.Paris.
And his jockey William Buick is no stranger to St Leger success – the rider won back-to-back renewals with Arctic
Hurricane Lane has since completed a Group One double with victories in the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Cosmos and Leading Light in 2010 and 2011 respectively before he became retained by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation.
Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled six previous winners of the St Leger, has six contenders on course for this year’s renewal.
The Ballydoyle handler has supplemented Dante third High Definition to join stablemates Carlisle Bay, Interpretation, King Of The Castle, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean in the Town Moor showpiece.
Johnny Murtagh did not manage to win the one-mile-six-furlong contest during his illustrious riding career, but will have high hopes of claiming victory as a trainer with Ottoman Emperor.
The Excelebration colt is unbeaten in three starts so far this season, completing his hat-trick with a narrow defeat of Sir Lucan in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Fernando Vichi, from Donnacha O’Brien’s yard, completes the potential Irish challenge.
Mojo Star is a leading contender for Richard Hannon, having split Adayar and Hurricane Lane when runner-up in the Derby before finishing fifth in the Irish equivalent and then opening his account in a Newbury maiden.
Hannon said: “You have to say the Derby was the performance of his career so far, and following up on that at the Curragh I thought he was a bit unlucky in the Irish Derby, but I do think he has been crying out for this trip on a galloping track.
“It will suit him, and he’s in great form. It’s obviously a very good race, maybe stronger than it as been for a few years.
“The favourite will be extremely hard to beat. I’ve seen him a couple of times this season, and Charlie has done an amazing job with him.”
Roger Varian’s Save A Forest is the only remaining filly, with Ralph Beckett’s Scope and the Andrew Balding-trained Youth Spirit the other two hopefuls.
Meanwhile Reach For The Moon headlines 11 contenders for the Champagne Stakes – one of the St Leger’s main support races.
Owned by the Queen and trained by John and Thady Gosden, Reach For The Moon narrowly failed to give Her Majesty a Royal Ascot victory when beaten just half a length by Point Lonsdale in the Chesham Stakes.
The Sea The Stars colt went on to land a Newbury maiden before registering a deeply impressive success in the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown last time out.
He faces another stiff test in this Group Two heat, though, with the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail seeking a hat-trick at this level after lifting the July Stakes at Newmarket and then adding to his tally in the Gimcrack at York last month.
National Hunt heroes Richard Johnson and Barry Geraghty are among the riders who will take part in tomorrow’s Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes on Town Moor.
Johnson will partner Michael Bell’s Greek Kodiac in a race which was first run in 2010 and has so far raised more than £1m for Jack Berry House and the National Horseracing College.
Geraghty, who won the 2003 Grand National aboard Monty’s Pass, will be on board the Charlie Hills-trained Mumtaaz on Town Moor.
Johnson and Geraghty are two of 13 former riders who will contest the charity event. Sammy Jo Bell, who won the race two years ago aboard Dubai Acclaim, is this year riding Fennaan – trained by her partner Phillip Makin.