Excess Knowledge can outstay St Leger rivals
A maximum of eleven runners will face the starter for the season’s final classic at Doncaster on Saturday. The participation of ante-post favourite Galileo Rock is in doubt after the rain in midweek changed the going at Town Moor to good to soft.
Connections will leave a decision as late as possible but may opt to run in the Irish St Leger against older horses on Sunday should better ground prevail across the water. Trainer John Gosden has no such fears for Excess Knowledge who has been crying out for a thorough test of stamina this season.
He caught the eye when staying on to finish third behind Mandour and Afsare over a mile and a quarter at Sandown. He was then sent off favourite for the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood over a mile and a half and was closing with every stride when second to Cap O’Rushes.
He would almost certainly have won that day with a clear run but was repeatedly hampered by the wandering Spillway and the line came too soon. James Doyle, the newly appointed jockey to Prince Khalid Abdullah in the UK, can crown a great season by winning the Leger.
The biggest threat may come from the Aidan O’Brien-trained Foundry who will be having only the third start of his career on Saturday. He ran a terrific race when chasing home Telescope in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, a race that has proved an excellent guide to the Leger in recent seasons.
O’Brien also saddles Queen’s Vase winner Leading Light who has proven stamina but may not be open to quite as much improvement as his stable companion. Oaks winner Talent adds a touch of class to the race and the going was on the soft side of good when she triumphed at Epsom.
If Ralph Beckett has managed to get her back to that sort of form after her disappointment in Ireland she will also be a threat. Derby runner-up Libertarian may prove the best of the Godolphin trio but he also has to bounce back from a listless display in Ireland.