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Kew Gardens heads 16 left in the mix for St Leger

10 Sep 2018

Aidan O'Brien set to run four challengers in William Hill-sponsored Classic at Doncaster

Aidan O'Brien

O’Brien is set to run four of the seven entries he has left in the William Hill St Leger. Picture:

Kew Gardens will spearhead Aidan O’Brien’s quest for a sixth William Hill St Leger triumph at Doncaster on Saturday.

O’Brien landed the final Classic of the season, which forms part of the Long Distance category of the  QIPCO British Champions Series, for a fifth time last year with Capri and Kew Gardens is no bigger than 13/8 to add to his haul.

The Galileo colt won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before winning in Group 1 company in France and on his latest start was a staying-on third to in the Great Voltigeur under a 5lb penalty.

“We were delighted with Kew Gardens at York,” O’Brien said. “It wasn’t ideal under the penalty but he had to have the run and we just thought that was the perfect place to give him his prep.

“He stays further and we always thought that Doncaster would suit him. He had one disappointing run and that was in the Derby and he disappointed us a little bit at Lingfield so maybe he’s a horse that just likes a level track.

“We rode him forward enough in the Derby too and maybe if we’d taken our time with him that might have suited him better.

Kew Gardens will be joined by The Pentagon, Southern France and Nelson.

The Pentagon was was fifth in the Great Voltigeur and O’Brien said: “He had a break after the Derby and he was just ready to step up when we ran him at York and he should come on for that.

“We really think he will step forward from his York run and the better the ground the more it will suit him.”

He added: “Southern France is a giant and he’s going to be an even better four-year-old but he’s a lovely horse.

“We were very happy with him at the Curragh [last time], it wasn’t a very fast pace there so that wouldn’t have suited him as we were riding him back a little bit.

“The reason we were riding him back was because it was his first run back for a while and we didn’t want him to get too tired.

“Nelson gets the trip really well and if ease in the ground comes he will handle it. He seems to be in really good form as well.”

In total, O’Brien has seven of the 16 entries left in the race. Lah Ti Dah, impressive winner of the Galtres Stakes at York last month in her first race since May, remains engaged, while Maid Up, trained by Andrew Balding’, has been supplemented at a cost of £50,000.