Al Aasy took a step forward and entered the St Leger picture with victory in the 1m 5f Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket’s July Festival.
Returned at 3/1, the William Haggas trained Sea The Stars colt ran out a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths winner. Held-up under Jim Crowley, Al Aasy made headway approaching three out.
He then pressed the leaders and was going best at the two marker. Al Aasy then led before the final furlong and ran on well to beat Aidan O’Brien raider Dawn Rising.
It depends on the bookmaker as to the reaction of this. His price ranges from a best of 12/1 down to 7/1 for the St Leger.
Haggas will step Al Aasy up in grade but down in trip for the Group 2 Great Voltigeur at York’s Ebor Festival next. This was a mixed day for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, however, as other Newmarket fancies Qaader and Enbihaar didn’t go on the soft ground.
Al Aasy was earlier fifth to subsequent Prix du Jockey Club hero Mishriff in a Listed contest on the Rowley Mile course two starts back.
Johnston does Musidora and Dante double
Middleham trainer Mark Johnston had a big-race double at local track York, meanwhile. Traditionally, the Group 3 Musidora Stakes and Group 2 Dante Stakes over an extended 1m 2f are Epsom Oaks and Derby trials.
This year the races took place after the Classic, but that didn’t matter to Johnston. Rose Of Kildare disappointed at Epsom just five days before the Musidora, but showed that running to be all wrong.
Sent off at 7/1, she defeated two regarded Khalid Abdullah owned fillies to land the spoils. Despite getting headed, Rose Of Kildare rallied and got back up to win going away.
Thunderous, meanwhile, ended the unbeaten run of Sir Michael Stoute fancy Highest Ground in the Dante. He led towards the finish, prevailing over the odds-on favourite by a neck.
As Thunderous shaped like even may further may suit, he also earned bookies’ quotes of 16/1 for the St Leger. Johnston had the second and third home in the Doncaster Classic last season, so that could be option if going up in trip.
Analysis: Santiago still sets St Leger standard ahead of Al Aasy
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Edtior
The Dante as a stepping stone to the St Leger? It’s unorthodox, but that seems to be the way of things in British Flat horse racing right now.
Group 2 races at York do usually have a say in the betting on the final Classic of the year,though. Normally speaking, that is the Great Voltigeur and Al Aasy is heading there.
Thunderous would carry a 3lb penalty if heading back to the Knavesmire for it next month. Al Aasy crept into the Bahrain Trophy nicely and would be going down rather than up in trip like Johnston’s winner.
The Gordon Stakes winner from Glorious Goodwood often also heads to York for the Great Voltigeur. Whoever emerges from that event during Ebor could be the leading British contenders for the St Leger this year.
Santiago remains favourite with good reason. Whatever happens in a potential battle with Stardivarius in the Goodwood Cup, he has a Classic under his belt already.
Al Suhail interesting for Sussex Stakes
Al Suhail is a market mover for the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and as short as 8/1. That follows an impressive win in Listed company dropping markedly in grade after contesting the 2000 Guineas.
Godolphin have always held Charlie Appleby’s charge in some regard. A six-length victory at Newmarket didn’t tell the full story either.
William Buick, who rode a treble on the day, eased Al Suhail down in the final half-furlong. He was value for plenty more than the winning margin.
If there is rain before and during Glorious Goodwood, then he could be one to consider. Godolphin do have other potential Sussex Stakes entrants, however, in stable companion Pinatubo and John Gosden filly Terebellum.