John Gosden seeks more success in St Leger race at Doncaster
Ladbrokes St Leger
- Saturday, 10 September
- 1510 BST
- Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, report/results on BBC Sport website. Live on Channel 4
Of the last four runners sent north for the challenge, over one and three-quarter miles, from his powerful string in Newmarket, three have returned home with the winners' trophies: Shantou (1996), Lucarno (2007) and Arctic Cosmos 12 months ago.
Indeed, Shantou played a major role in establishing the Sussex-born 60-year-old amongst the British training elite after he returned from an extended spell based in California, a lofty position he has held ever since.
"Poor girl," he grinned. "She always gets left with two of three yearlings that I couldn't sell. This one came right, though you don't hear too much about the rest.
"It was a serious moment for all of us. You never think you are going to win a race like this for your wife, but she pays her bills, and deserved it."
The stable is represented in this year's field by the well-fancied Masked Marvel, eighth in the Derby and subsequently conqueror of big-race rival Census at Newmarket in July, and by Buthelezi, something of an outsider.
"I get sent a lot of staying types of horse, but the idea that an out and out plodder can win this race is a myth. You need a turn of foot, speed at the end," he said.
"By the time that they've run over a mile, six furlongs and 132 yards, usually the best horse has won. Masked Marvel is training exceptionally well and should see out the distance well."
Blue Bunting, to be ridden by five-time winner Frankie Dettori, is looking to add to an already impressive CV, having won the 1000 Guineas and Irish and Yorkshire Oaks for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stable.
Census brings extra glamour as well as good form to Doncaster, boasting Liz Hurley, no less, amongst the syndicate that owns him, while Michael Owen's blue silks are due to be worn by Kieren Fallon on Royal Ascot winner Brown Panther, after regular jockey Richard Kingscote was dropped.
Gosden is clearly relishing the battle ahead on Saturday, adding: "It looks a proper, proper Leger, and there's a high level of ability amongst the runners, but obviously it would be great if we could make it four."