The Mediterranean, one of four Aidan O’Brien-trained ‘decs’ for the group one St Leger Stakes over an extended fourteen furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Doncaster this afternoon, has been on my short list for the fifth and final classic since finishing a creditable runner-up at York three weeks ago.
This Galileo colt set a strong pace in the twelve furlongs ‘Great Voltigeur’ until paying a price for that over-zealous exercise close home where Wayne Lordan’s mount was collared and beaten just over a length by Godolphin-owned Yibir, stable-companion of Hurricane Lane!
Charlie Appleby’s charge, odds on for this prestigious South Yorkshire showpiece, since narrowly winning the Irish Derby and Longchamp Grand Prix (by six lengths!), ticks all the boxes for just about every racing scribe and those ‘big-hitters’ set to give bookmakers a real ‘whupping’ but, I don’t get it!
Previously Hurricane Lane was third in the Epsom Derby, beaten eight lengths by Appleby’s Adayar and runner-up, Mojo Star, was second four lengths away for Richard Hannon’s yard, and in opposition again!
Don’t you think Mojo Star would have won the Irish and French races?
On my time-handicap Hurricane Lane needs to improve considerably and, of course, stay a colossal distance, three furlongs further than the Epsom classic; what guarantee is there this Frankel colt will get home?
Price-wise it’s a ‘no-brainer’ to lay Hurricane Lane and I’ll definitely be financially strapped if I’m wrong.
Significantly Aidan has kept Wayne Lordan on The Mediterranean on a lovely galloping track which Lester Piggott once told me ‘is ideal for front-running tactics’ and he won the ‘Leger’ a record NINE TIMES!
Lusail represents a ‘professional special’ punt in the four-runner group two Champagne Stakes over seven furlongs, a disappointing turn-out but my priority, at all times, is backing a winner.
Hannon’s runner has become a real money spinner and genuine 2021 classic contender with successive group two victories in the July Stakes (Newmarket) and ‘Gimcrack’ at York, which completed a hat-trick for Lusail given he also scored on the July course in June; way back in May this Mehmas colt won over seven on the Knavesmire.
Incidentally the Marlborough ‘winning machine’ very seldom supplies ‘first-up’ winners as it involves carrying whopping 7lbs penalties; they are tough for juveniles as such burdens equate to at least two lengths but Lusail is exceptional.
Reach For The Moon, owned by Her Majesty, The Queen, is the likely favourite based on successive victories, the last time producing a ‘wow’ factor when landing the ‘Solario’ at Sandown by four lengths; once again my TH differs!
I always have a reason for every selection, I’m a bettor!
Selections, Doncaster, 2.20 Lusail; 3.35, The Mediterranean (e.w); Musselburgh, 5.05 Beltane.
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019