Great Britain

Matt Chapman looks ahead to this year’s renewal of the William Hill St Leger in his latest column


LOGIC tells you to lump on Logician in today’s final British Classic of the Flat season at Doncaster.

On a huge day for the sport, which includes a corking Irish Champions Stakes in Ireland, the William Hill-sponsored St Leger takes centre stage on the main ITV network.

Logician is a strong favourite and rightly so on form, plus he has the added advantage of being in the care of Johnny G Gosden, who has landed the feature four times with Masked Marvel, Arctic Cosmos, Lucarno and Shantou.

Unbeaten, Logician powered to a near two length success in the Group 2 Voltigeur at York last time, and the winning margin could easily have been extended. Stamina should be no issue and he could be a proper top class performer in 2020.

Logician would not only crown an incredible season for Frankie Dettori, but also provide sire Frankel with a second British Classic following on from Anapurna’s success in the Oaks at Epsom.

Like Frankel, Logician carries the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah, and don’t forget it was in a conditions race at Doncaster where Frankel first really wowed the crowd to score by thirteen lengths.

A field of eight is set to go to post for the Group 1 contest, and many will look for a big run from Coolmore’s Sir Dragonet.

The Chester Vase hero looked like one to keep on the right side of when finishing fifth in the Derby at Epsom, but he ran a shocker on his return to action after that big day, finishing fourth of seven in a minor Group 3 at the Curragh.

That was over a mile and a quarter, and Aidan O’Brien will hope the step back up in trip will bring a revival. I am not so sure, as the son of Camelot has never looked one to lack pace.

O’Brien also saddles Il Paradiso, who ran huge behind Stradivarius in the Lonsdale at York, without ever looking like winning. He could book himself a place in the Melbourne Cup if going well.

It would be a fairytale in his late forties if Franny Norton was to take the prize on Sir Ron Priestley, and it’s not impossible that the big improver will take a hand for Mark Johnston. He impressed in the March Stakes at Goodwood and stays strong. A streetfighter.

It’s a decent renewal of the St Leger. Logician just has to be the choice.

Over in Ireland O’Brien’s Magical heads the line-up for the Qipco Irish Champions Stakes over a mile and a quarter.

Magical keeps chasing home super star Enable, as do most horses, but is an admirable performer. However, she is far from unbeatable and there’s no doubt Headman and Elarqam are huge rivals.

Happy retirement Rob

One jockey not riding today is Robert Winston, who allowed me to break the news on Wednesday that he was to retire with immediate effect.

I had seen Rob at Brighton on Monday, and had a quick chat with him then. He had gone all the way to the south coast track for one ride, a 15-2 shot in an eight-runner heat. For a jockey of Winston’s calibre – a man who might have been champion once but for injury – I could not help but think he deserved better.

Winston was recently riding horses for Tony Bloom, like his Group 1 winner Librisa Breeze and Withhold, but for some reason that association came to an end this season.

It’s not always been easy for Winston, and he’s probably not always made the right decisions, but there’s no doubting he was a talented rider and is a decent guy. He has a successful business at home with his other half, so hopefully unlike so many ex-jockeys he will have plenty to keep himself occupied. Enjoy the new era Robert.

Headman is a massive improver for the excellent Derby-winning trainer Roger Charlton, and did amazingly well to win in France last time when just about everything went wrong in a Group 2 at Deauville. Jason Watson gets the massive chance.

Elarqam was for many an unlucky loser of the Juddmonte International at York, staying on well for Mark Johnston’s team having been denied a clear run. Of the two I just favour Elarqam who seems to be getting his act together at the right time.

Considering the field also numbers Japan’s Goodwood heroine Deirdre, Derby runner-up Madhmoon and the Epsom victor Anthony Van Dyck we are assured a belter.

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The championship will resume on June 20