Capri 4/1 early favourite as St Leger entries revealed

Harbour Law won the 2016 St Leger
Harbour Law won the 2016 St Leger

The William Hill St Leger stakes, held at Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday 16 September, has attracted 45 impressive entries.

An increase from the 42 entries received in both 2016 and 2015, this list of potential runners includes horses trained in Great Britain, Ireland and France.

The race sponsors, William Hill, currently have Aidan O’Brien’s Capri as the 4/1 favourite.

Capri is one of 18 entries from O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable and heads the field after winning the Irish Derby earlier in July.

Following him in the ante-post market is the French-trained Shakeel.

From the yard of Alain de Royer Dupre, the 8/1 second favourite is yet to run in England but this hasn’t prevented him from amassing some impressive form.

Having beaten both Permian and Venice Beach in the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, he will line up in their company again as both hold entries for the St Leger, priced at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively.

Four-time St Leger winning trainer John Gosden has a total of seven entries which include Coronet and Stradivarius.

Both horses share the spot of third favourite with William Hill at a price of 10/1.

Coronet won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June whilst Stradivarius has form over this distance having won the Queen’s Vase at the same meeting.

A win for Mr Gosden would make him the most successful St Leger trainer of this era with five St Leger titles to his name.

He currently shares this title with Aidan O’Brien who has also saddled four winners of the World’s Oldest Classic.

Another record could be broken by an O’Brien win, this time in the hands of Aidan’s oldest son Joseph.

Saddling a runner in the St Leger for the first time, if his 10/1 shot Rekindling were to win he would become to first person to have both ridden and trained a St Leger winner since Harry Wragg in 1969.

Joseph won the St Leger as a jockey in 2013 when Leading Light won for Coolmore Stud and his Father.

There is a local interest in the race, owing to the three entries from Mark Johnston’s Middleham yard.

His shortest priced runner is Permian who is available at a price of 16/1 after his Royal Ascot win in the King Edward VII Stakes and subsequent defeat to Shakeel in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris. Sofia’s Rock is 33/1 and Cape Coast is currently 66/1.

Speaking of the entries, William Hill’s Head of Sponsorship PR, Tony Kenny, said: “This is a very strong field of entries for the William Hill St Leger, but following Capri’s win in the Irish Derby at the Curragh earlier this month, we have installed him as the favourite at 4/1.

“This is the first year of our involvement with the race and we are very much looking forward to seeing which of the 45 entries move forward and come to Doncaster in September for the world’s oldest Classic.”

The next key date in the run up to the race is the scratch phase on the 29 August where horses not intending to run and removed from the line up. Following that there is a confirmation stage on the 11 September when the final field is consolidated.

The Group 1 race has a total prize fund of £700,000 and was first run in 1776.

It is one of only five Classic races run in England, the others being the 1,000 Guineas, the 2,000 Guineas, The Oaks and the Epsom Derby.