The Ladbrokes St. Leger Festival: Celebrating One of the UK’s Classic Events

September 02, 2016

- Grant Whittington

The St. Leger Stakes is the world’s oldest classic, and one of five that take place during every single flat race season. It was first contested back in 1776, and while it has evolved in the centuries since it ranks alongside the Epsom Derby as a seminal event that captures the imagination of the viewing public.

While it is part of a wider, three-day festival that will start on 7th September this year, there is no doubt that the St. Leger Stakes remains the highlight for fans, jockeys and trainers alike. The years’ Group One outing will be no exception, with a total of 42 entries ready to skate their claim for glory.

This years’ Runners and Riders Who are the favourites to win?

The St. Leger Stakes is a real test of endurance for the runners and riders, covering a challenging distance of one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards. When considered in the context of such a vast and competitive field, the St. Leger odds are likely to be close and constantly changeable over the course of the next few weeks.

Fans will have been disappointed to note the withdrawal of dual Derby winner Harzand, however, who had initially been touted as one of the initial favourites to win. This arguably only makes the race more intriguing, while a record prize fund of £700,000 means that the contest will also have a key bearing on which trainer is confirmed as the highest earner for the season.

Currently leading the pack in this regard is Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has earned in excess of £5 million this season and is in search of a fifth St. Leger crown. His chances have been greatly increased by the inclusion of 16 entries from his stable, with Idaho and US Army Ranger already among the front-runners. Idaho, who came third at Epsom, is largely considered to be the current favourite at 4/1 with bookmakers nationwide.

Who Else Should Punters Look Out for?

While O’Brien is well-placed to achieve a fifth St. Leger win, there are plenty of other trainers who will be hopeful of ending their season with a classic success. Take Ralph Beckett, for example, whose entry Simple Verse was victorious last year and is sure to be in contention again this time around.

All-in-all, the level of competition in this years’ field should guarantee a close and keenly-contested race, and one that is befitting of the seminal St. Leger Festival. It should also provide a fitting conclusion to the flat racing season, regardless of where you choose to place your money.

Back your favourite for the St Leger today.

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