Connections of Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Storm The Stars hope stepping up in trip in Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger can help their plucky colt make it third-time lucky in Classic company.
Third to Golden Horn in the Derby at Epsom and runner-up to Jack Hobbs in the Irish Derby already this season, Storm The Stars is 9-4 joint-favourite with the sponsors to follow up his gritty victory at York last month in Doncaster’s prestigious Classic.
“The further he goes, the better he should be”
“Hopefully the step up in trip will improve him but you never really know until you actually go and do it,” said assistant trainer Maureen Haggas on Monday.
She added: “The signs are that he should be a better horse over a bit further but it is the end of a long, hard year and he has given us everything so far. If we could get one more big run out of him, that would be great but he doesn’t really owe us anything.
“He is a tough sort. Early on he wasn’t very well behaved and looked like he needed more education, so we kept running him to try and make him a bit more professional and bring him on. It doesn’t appear to have done him much harm.
“From the Derby onwards, the St Leger was always the route we were going and Dad [Lester Piggott] didn’t put us off that – he would certainly have told us if he didn’t agree! The St Leger was the obvious way to go as he is a galloper and the further he goes, the better he should be.”
Three for O’Brien
Storm The Stars shares big-race favouritism with Order Of St George, one of three contenders trained by Aidan O’Brien among eight five-day declarations.
O’Brien also looks likely to saddle Great Voltigeur runner-up Bondi Beach (3-1) and Fields Of Athenry (8-1) and is finding it hard to split his trio.
The trainer said: “Bondi Beach ran very well at York. We wanted to get a run into him and I was delighted with his performance.
“I think he is a horse that likes good ground and the better the ground, the better it should suit him – he is good-moving horse. I have been very happy with him since York.”
“Hard to say which will be best”
O’Brien added: “I was very happy Order Of St George at the Curragh last time and the ease in the ground suited him. He won very nicely. He has also form on fast and good ground and I think he is one of those horses that can handle anything.
“Fields Of Athenry was drawn very badly in the Ebor last time and was a bit slow away. He is a horse that likes to bowl along and it took him a while to get to the front.
“Given his wide draw and big weight for a three-year-old, it was a good performance to finish fifth in a very competitive handicap. He kept going and will be back to level weights on Saturday.
“The three horses all have different profiles and it is hard to say which will be best on Saturday.”
The going was described as good at Doncaster on Monday, with dry weather forecast for the rest of the week.

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