2017 St Leger Betting Trends and Tips
St Leger Horse racing tips and trends
The William Hill-sponsored St Leger is the oldest of the five British flat racing Classics, as well as the longest in trip. Run at Doncaster racecourse and over a distance of 1m6f and for 3 year-olds only this contest is targeted by horses that ran in that season’s Great Voltigeur, with 6 of the last 15 winners having ran in that York race before winning this, while in recent years with seen 6 winning favourites in the last 15 runnings.
Look out for John Gosden-trained horses as this powerful Newmarket stable has won the race three times in the last 15 years, while top Irish handler – Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner of the St Leger four times. Also note any Godolphin-owned entries as they these famous blue silks have won the final English Classic of the season a staggering six times!
Here at JuiceStorm we’ve got all the key stats ahead of the 2017 renewal – this year run on Saturday 16th September.
Recent St Leger Winners
2016 – Harbour Law (22/1)
2015 – Simple Verse (8/1)
2014 – Kingston Hill (9/4 fav)
2013 – Leading Light (7/2 fav)
2012 – Encke (25/1)
2011 – Masked Marvel (15/2)
2010 – Arctic Cosmos (12/1)
2009 – Mastery (14/1)
2008 – Conduit (8/1)
2007 – Lucarno (7/2)
2006 – Sixties Icon (11/8 fav)
2005 – Scorpion (10/11 fav)
2004 – Rule of Law (3/1 jfav)
2003 – Brian Boru (5/4 fav)
2002 – Bollin Eric (7/1)
Key St Leger Trends
14/15 – Had 2 or 3 previous career wins
13/15 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
12/15 – Placed favourites
12/15 – Had never raced at Doncaster before
11/15 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
11/15 – Had won a Group race before
11/15 – Had 4 or 5 previous runs that season
10/15 – Had never raced over 1m6f or further before
10/15 – Winning distance of 1 length or more
10/15 – Had won over at least 1m3f before
9/15 – Officially rated 109 to 115
9/15 – Drawn in stall 5 or higher
8/15 – Won last time out
6/15 – Ran in the Great Voltigeur last time out (2 won it)
6/15 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
4/15 – USA-bred winners
3/15 – Ran in the Gordon Stakes last time out (2 won it)
3/15 – Trained by John Gosden
3/15 – Won by a Godolphin-owned horse
3/15 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
3/15 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
2/15 – Ridden by William Buick
2/15 – Winners from stall 1
Godolphin have won the race 6 times
Aidan O’Brien has trained 4 winners of the race
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 8/1
Being the oldest of the Classics, the St Leger was first staged in 1776 and, therefore, has loads of history attached to it. In recent times the Triple Crown (2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby & St Leger) was last won by the talented Nijinsky (1970), but the Aidan O’Brien-trained Camelot came mighty close in 2012 after scooping the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby before going down just ¾ of a length (2nd) in his Leger and Triple Crown bid.
Once again, though, we’ve not got a horse going for all three races this season, but we still look set for a decent renewal with the powerful John Gosden camp having another strong hand, while Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race four times before, also has a decent chance with his Irish Derby hero Capri.
The ‘boys in blue’ of Godolphin are another leading operation to look for as they’ve been successful six times in this race and are sure to fire a few bullets at the race, while the already mentioned John Gosden, has been responsible for four winners during his career – including three of the last 10. At this stage he’s got several entered with recent Goodwood Cup winner – Stradivarius – looking like his best hope.
In the ‘punter v bookie’ battle the contest has certainly favoured the backers in recent years with 6 of the last 15 favourites winning, and this is backed-up further with a staggering 12 of the last 15 market leaders making the frame. But the bookies gain a bit of revenge last year when 22/1 shot – Harbour Law – battled his way to success.
By far the biggest ‘standout’ stat in recent times is that 14 of the last 15 winners has won at least twice in their career already, but with most of the runners fitting the bill here the more significant trend is that 13 of the last 15 winners were placed in the top three last time out.
Looking at some of the other key stats – Don’t be too worried if your fancy is yet to race over this 1m6f (or further) trip as 10 of the last 15 winners hadn’t either, but do look for horses with proven Group form as 11 of the last 15 winners had won at that level previously.
The St Leger also has several leading trial races that have been a good guide in recent years. Having run in either the Great Voltigeur (23rd Aug, York), or the Gordon Stakes (5th Aug Goodwood) is significant with 9 of the last 15 St Leger winners having run in one of those contest before taking this – 4 of the last 15 (2 each) actually won one of those leading St Leger Trial races before going onto glory in the final English Classic.
It might sound odd, but despite being run over 1m6f, the draw has also played a key role with 9 of the last 15 winners coming from stalls 5 or higher, while we’ve seen just 2 winners from stall one take the prize during that 15 year period. This draw stat indicates it’s difficult to get a good early position in the race, without using up valuable energy, from the lower starting stalls.
Finally, heading here race-fit is another fairly obvious statement to make, but also coming here in-form is vital. We’ve already mentioned that horses that finished in the top three in their last race are worth keeping on your side, but 8 of the last 15 (53%) actually won last time out, while 11 of the last 15 winners went to Doncaster with between 4 or 5 previous runs that campaign – backing-up the fitness and experience angle once again.
At the time of writing a lot can change between now and the race – this year run slightly later in September (16th), but hopefully these trends will help narrow the field down once we know the final runners. As mentioned, it’s worth looking back at the Gordon Stakes and the Great Voltigeur Stakes once they are run as these are often decent guides.
The clear favourite at this stage is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Capri, who landed the Irish Derby earlier this season, but the John Gosden camp are always feared in this race and their recent Goodwood Cup scorer – Stradivarius – was hugely impressive when beating Big Orange (albeit getting a fair amount of weight) that day over 2m and has now won four of his last 5 races. There should be more to come from this promising stayer, who looks a banker to be in the shake-up if making the final runners.
JUICESTORM VERDICT: Onto the ‘big one’ and everything is in place for a decent renewal of the final English Classic of the season – the St Leger. With power-house stables – Aidan O’Brien, Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden – all having runners with live chances then we’ve got all the ingredients for a ‘must-see’ race – oh, and also add Roger Varian’s Defoe, who is seeking a five-timer! The ratings are headed by the O’Brien runner – Capri – and being 4lbs clear of his nearest rival then he’s sure to be popular in the betting. We last saw him winning the Irish Derby from the well-regarded Cracksman by a neck with the Epsom Derby winner – Wings Of Eagles – close-up in third. With the second that day since franking the form, and with this longer trip sure to bring out more improvement then it will be a shock if he’s not going close. He’s got form on all ground types and with Ryan Moore riding he’ll have every assistance from the saddle. They only concern for me though is that with just one win from his last five races he has been prone to finding a few too good in the past. The Roger Varian-trained Defoe is another that punters are sure to latch onto after a string of 1’s next to his name. This 3 year-old has progressed up the ranks well this term to win his last four and is another that looks sure to benefit from the step up in trip. He won with a bit more in-hand than the ¾ of a length winning distance last time at Newbury and seems to act the same on all ground types. If coping with another rise in class is one for the shortlist. Crystal Ocean will be flying the flag for the Stoute yard, but surprisingly they’ve only won the race once before (2008). On a plus though this horse went into many a notebook after landing the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time and with that contest often a good guide for the St Leger then that’s another big bonus ahead of his chance. She powered clear that day to win by 3 ½ lengths so the step up in trip will be fine and with just five career runs his improvement should continue and rates a big player for me. In the saddle, Jim Crowley takes over from Ryan Moore, who is committed to ride for Ballydoyle, but he’s stepped in with success this season for the yard in these big races – most notably on Ulysses. So really that leaves us with STRADIVARIUS (E/W). The John Gosden yard have the best recent record of the trainers on show in the race with three wins since 2007 and this looks another typical Leger type for the stable. He landed the Goodwood cup in great style last time over 2m so we know the trip is not going to be an issue and also heads into the race as the second-highest rated in the field. Yes, he got a fair amount of weight last time, but it was still a top performance from a 3 year-old to beat the older horses and with a 46 day break will head here fresh and ready to rumble again. Soft ground is a slight unknown, but breeding (Sea The Stars) suggests it will be fine and the fact he’s won over 2 miles is another good sign that even on softer conditions he’ll be fine. Of the rest, I would not be surprised to see Raheen House out-run his odds after a gutsy win in the Bahrain Trophy last time out at Newmarket. He stayed on well that day over 1m5f so is one of the proven few to go well in-and-around this trip.