By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker
Sea Moon Underlines St Leger Credentials
1 Sea Moon 11/2
Sea Moon, who was touted as a Derby prospect prior to suffering a setback earlier in the season, vindicated connections’ high opinion of him when dismantling a high-class field in the Group Two Sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting.
The well-bred colt was no more than workmanlike when defying top-weight in a handicap on the Knavesmire on his belated reappearance in June, but, despite drifting out to 11-2 ahead of the Great Voltigeur (opened at 7-2), the son of Beat Hollow looked a colt going places in beating Al Kazeem by eight lengths, with Seville, who went into the race on the back of two cracking efforts in Group One contests, back in third.
Although his odds have now been hacked right down to around the 6-4 mark for the final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on September 10, it’s hard to envisage him being beaten on Town Moor, particularly given that he’s open to further improvement, having had just four starts to date, and he promises to be well suited to the Leger trip of 1¾m.
Indeed, Sea Moon is closely related to Brian Boru, who went close in the Great Voltigeur himself prior to landing the 2003 St Leger. Winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: ‘I thought he was highly impressive. He's a horse we have always loved and he had a few little niggles in the spring time.’
Stoute added: ‘I didn't expect him to win like that. He's a lovely big horse with a good mind and he's progressed so well since he ran here in June. On that [alluding to Sea Moon’s performance in the Great Voltigeur] he's got a great chance [alluding to the St Leger], sure.’
Seville, sent off the 5-6 favourite in the Voltigeur, headed the ante-post Leger betting prior to this defeat, but can now be backed at around the 10-1 mark for the Doncaster Classic. In my opinion, Aidan O’Brien’s charge barely stays 1½m, and I reckon that dropping the colt a couple of furlongs in trip will yield better results, rather than upping him further in distance.
Namibian was only fifth in the York trial race, but it would be no surprise should his trainer Mark Johnston still aim his charge at the Leger. Indeed, while the son of Cape Cross won over 1½m on his penultimate start at Goodwood, he looked all about stamina when landing the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June. Consequently, the 20-1 currently available about Namibian doesn’t look like bad each-way value in my opinion.
At this stage, the most creditable threats to Sea Moon in the Leger appear to be Census and Brown Panther, first and second respectively in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury in August, and Irish Oaks heroine Blue Bunting, who shapes as though a stiff test of stamina will be right up her street. However, judged on what Sea Moon did to a quality field in the Voltigeur, he is extremely hard to oppose, so the 6-4 needs to be taken, as it’s not hard to envisage him going off at odds-on at Donny on September 10.
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