John Gosden seeks more success in St Leger race at Doncaster

By Cornelius LysaghtBBC 5 live horse racing correspondent
Arctic Cosmos
Arctic Cosmos powered home as winner of the St Leger at Doncaster in 2010

John Gosdenexternal-link describes Doncaster's St Legerexternal-link as "a great race, run at a wonderful track", and so he might after his success in the final and the oldest of Flat racing's Classics.

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.

Though perhaps, Arctic Cosmos, ridden to victory by rising star jockey William Buickexternal-link, was the most important to Gosden as the horse was owned by his wife, Rachel Hoodexternal-link.

"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."

The race sponsor Ladbrokesexternal-link make the colt fourth in the betting with Sea Moon, trained by near-neighbour Sir Michael Stouteexternal-link, a red hot favourite after a success at York in August.

Blue Bunting, to be ridden by five-time winner Frankie Dettoriexternal-link, is looking to add to an already impressive CV, having won the 1000 Guineas and Irish and Yorkshire Oaks for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stableexternal-link.

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 Fallonexternal-link 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."