Aidan O’Brien has targeted his St Leger hopefuls at the Queen’s Vase during Royal Ascot consistently, so Santiago winning it provided punters with Classic clues.
Five of the last eight victors in the 1m 6f Group 2 contest have come over from Ballydoyle now. Ridden patiently by stable jockey Ryan Moore, the stamina of Santiago kicked in up the home straight.
The 100/30 chance ran out a 2 3/4 lengths winner over Berkshire Rocco. That front pair pulled a further 8 1/2 lengths clear of Godolphin’s Al Dabaran in third.
William Haggas’ Born With Pride was favourite, but the filly didn’t stay and came fourth. Santiago made a complete nonsense of his official rating of 94.
He beat horses on marks that were 10lb and 13lb higher going into the Queen’s Vase. The handicapper will have his say for this success, however.
Analysis: Bookies react differently to Santiago success
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
It depends on which bookmaker you bet with as to the St Leger claims of Santiago. I for one was impressed, but there are double figure prices available for him at Doncaster in September.
The 12/1 available with Coral and William Hill has each-way value in it even at this early stage. There are plenty more St Leger trials to come of course.
These include the Bahrain Trophy at the Newmarket July Festival, Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Great Voltigeur during the York Ebor Festival and Geoffrey Freer at Newbury.
Berkshire Rocco gives the Queen’s Vase form a solid look. Santiago beat a horse who chased home Epsom Derby fancy English King last time out.
Stamina is prized above all other attributes for a St Leger horse. In Santiago, O’Brien has an Authorized colt that has demonstrated that in spades here.
The way Haggas has campaigned Born With Pride so far leaves a lot to be desired. Those connections who had such success with Sea Of Class could have run in the Ribblesdale earlier in the week.
Far be it from me to criticise Haggas, but this is the second time this season that Born With Pride has gone in the wrong race. There could be a plan, but it’s far from ideal prep for an Oaks bid.
Never mind Born With Pride. Santiago is named after the Patron Saint of Spain – said to come with fire and sword. There’s a long home straight at Doncaster, so he needs to stay again to win the St Leger.