By HRI Foreign Staff — Racing fans rejoice for the return of the St. Leger Stakes on September 11 when Doncaster will once again host the oldest of the five British Classics, as well as the last leg of the Triple Crown.
Run over a substantial distance of a mile and six furlongs, just about every runner in the field will be taking on an unprecedented challenge in South Yorkshire, but only one can emerge victorious.
And the odds are only shifting further in favour of frontrunner Hurricane Lane, with trainer Charlie Appleby raring to collect one of, if not the biggest win of his career to date.
But who else could rain on his parade at the St. Leger?
HorseRaceInsider.com Foreign Staff has broken down the leading three-year-old stars in the running, with the top picks dominated by trainers seeking their first win in this particular meet.
Hurricane Lane (8/11)
Despite what the name might suggest, Hurricane Lane will be hoping for finer weather like most others in the field come Saturday, having performed best on good ground thus far in his career.
Appleby’s sole entrant is owned by Godolphin, who have had six St. Leger winners on their books since 1995. One more would draw them level with Archibald Hamilton as the joint-most successful owner in the race’s history, and there’s plenty of reason they should feel upbeat.
For starters, Hurricane Lane has won all but one of the six races he’s competed in to date and will return to Ireland after triumphing in his Longchamp debut in July:
The BBC celebrated his May win in the Dante Stakes before he finished a distant third in his Group 1 debut at Epsom almost a month later, though he’s since made up for that with two Group 1 wins.
Ottoman Emperor (11/2)
There’s a steep rise in the odds immediately after favourite Hurricane Lane, but Ottoman Emperor still may not be the dark horse his 11/2 price makes him out to be, reported racing portal Horse.bet.
Granted, Johnny Murtagh’s colt has won four in a row and is one of the more tested contenders in regards to distance—even if he did look near his limit debuting over a mile and four furlongs at Goodwood in July:
But the Ottoman Emperor will be venturing into unknown waters and making a significant step up in competition at Doncaster, perhaps biting off a little more than he can chew.
Mojo Star (8/1)
A wild card pick considering he’s won just one of his five career outings thus far, but that record doesn’t paint a proper picture of the high-class company he’s kept in some of those.
Mojo Star lost out to the likes of Hurricane Lane and Adayar by sizeable distances in past races, but his account was finally opened in August with a maiden win at Newbury:
Three straight races at a mile and a furlong could put this lurker in better stead than some rivals in terms of race experience, and the 8/1 outsider could warrant interest if that last result is the start of a new trend.
2021 St. Leger Stakes – Odds Leaders