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Galileo Rock, placed in both the English and Irish Derbies, bids for glory in Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.
The David Wachman-trained three-year-old is one of 11 declared for the season’s final and oldest classic, run over 14 furlongs.
The Galileo colt highlighted his ability by taking third to Ruler Of The World at Epsom, and maintained his progress by chasing home Trading Leather at the Curragh next time.
The Irish have a strong hand as Aidan O’Brien, already successful three times, is double-handed with Queen’s Vase winner Leading Light and Foundry, runner-up in a key trial, the Great Voltigeur at York, on his seasonal reappearance.
The Ballydoyle trainer’s son Joseph has opted for Queen’s Vase, leaving Ryan Moore to ride Foundry.
John Gosden knows what it takes to win this historic event, having captured three of the last six runnings, and has one of the favourites in Excess Knowledge who met trouble in-running at Goodwood on his return. Beaten a whisker by Cap O’Rushes in the Gordon Stakes, he is fancied to turn the tables on the Godolphin runner, with owner Khalid Abdullah’s newly-retained jockey James Doyle taking over in the saddle from William Buick.
Buick does not miss out though as he has been snapped up by Godolphin for Libertarian, while Mickael Barzalona, successful last year on Enke, sticks with Cap O’Rushes.
The third member of a powerful team for the boys in blue is Secret Number, and with Saeed bin Suroor having sent out five St Leger winners, it would be folly to dismiss his chances.
The trainer offered an upbeat report: “He’s doing really well. I’ve always liked him. He was a bit weak in the past, but he improves from every race and he is ready to go,” he said.
“He’s been working really well and I’m very happy with him. The ground – good, good to soft, I think it will suit him. He will be fine with it.”