BIG RACE PREVIEW: The feature race of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster sees Hurricane Lane looking for a hat-trick of wins but it’s not a foregone conclusion.
There is little doubt that the 2021 running of the Cazoo St Leger revolves around one horse and that is the hot favourite Hurricane Lane. The outstanding son of Frankel has only met with defeat once in his career and that was when he finished just under 8 lengths third to his equally outstanding stablemate Adayar in the Epsom Derby in June. Another of his rivals here Mojo Star actually finished one place in front of Hurricane Lane at Epsom however it later transpired that Hurricane Lane had lost both front shoes during the race and so he may have had a legitimate excuse for that defeat. He then went to Ireland where he put in a stunning performance to win the Irish Derby.
It was stunning in so much that the race looked to have got away from him when Lone Eagle kicked early in the straight and poached a five length lead. However Hurricane Lane showed tremendous tenacity, huge talent and an iron will as he ran down the leader in the shadows of the post to record a famous victory. He also recorded an outstanding time which earned him a Racing Preview speed rating of 86 which up there with the very best awarded all season. A six-length demolition job then followed in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in mid-July which confirmed the horse as one of the best, if not the best middle distance three-year-old in Europe.
The Johnny Murtagh trained Ottoman Emperor is very progressive and very interesting too. Having won three of his four starts in Ireland this season he headed to Goodwood in late July and really served notice of his emerging talent when he won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes beating Sir Lucan and a host of decent middle distance horses from the UK. Although being closed down late on he didn’t appear to be stopping out in front over the 12 furlongs trip and he should be ok with the extra two furlongs here. He is right in the mix.
Aidan O’Brien sends over four runners and whilst the betting suggests that High Definition could be the best of them, he has largely been disappointing since finishing two lengths behind Hurricane Lane in the Dante Stakes in May. Interpretation brings a progressive profile into the race however he has to improve further to be involved here whilst Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean could both run well but again may just come up short at the top level.
And so it may be left to the aforementioned Mojo Star to once again put it up to Hurricane Lane. Having finished in front of him in the Epsom Derby he found himself 9½ lengths adrift of the favourite when they next met in Ireland. However Mojo Star was badly hampered there and so may have finished a little closer but for the interference. Both horses may benefit from a shower or two before racing and if they get it then they could easily fight out the finish with ready preference for Hurricane Lane.
Suggestion: Hurricane Lane
Alternatives: Mojo Star
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