John Gosden, who has made the St Leger his specialist subject in recent seasons, yesterday identified his chief challengers to the odds-on favourite Camelot at Doncaster on Saturday week as Thought Worthy and Michelangelo. Their stablemate Great Heavens, second market choice in most lists since her Irish Oaks success, is likely to miss Doncaster in favour of sticking to her own sex in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp the following day.
Gosden saddled Arctic Cosmos to victory in 2010 and Masked Marvel last year, in addition to Lucarno in 2007. This year's two front-line contenders will have the services of a pacemaker, Dartford, as their trainer goes for the first hat-trick in the Classic for 172 years. Doubts had already surrounded the stable's fourth high-profile entry, Shantaram, after an interrupted preparation.
"We'll be talking to owners and managers before making our decisions," said Gosden, "but there will be a pacemaker and two runners, with Thought Worthy and Michelangelo the ones in the mix."
Thought Worthy, winner of last month's Great Voltigeur Stakes and the most likely mount of stable jockey William Buick, has been cut to 10-1 by St Leger sponsors Ladbrokes to follow in the hoofprints of his brother Lucarno, likewise owned by George Strawbridge.
Buick confirmed yesterday that he will be able to take part in both Group One features this Saturday, the Sprint Cup at Haydock at 3.25 on the Paul Messara-trained Ortensia and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown at 5.45 on his own yard's Nathaniel. "It's now looking very possible," he said, "I'll be getting a helicopter from one course to the other, and I'm looking forward to it."
Sheikh Mohammed has continued his traditional annual headhunt of smart two-year-olds with the recruitment of Reckless Abandon, who took his unbeaten run to four in last month's Prix Morny.
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