Shantaram runs into the Leger picture
Thursday 12 July 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
1 Shantaram (W Buick) 9-4
2 Naseem Alyasmeen (M Harley) 20-1
3 Good Morning Star (J Fanning) 20-1
Shantaram is 16-1 for the St Leger at Doncaster after galloping five rivals in to submission in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket today.
John Gosden’s colt used his course experience to good effect by pulling three and a quarter lengths clear of 20-1 shot Naseem Alyasmeen, while fellow 20-1 shot Good Morning Star was third.
The trainer, who also has the well-backed Michaelangelo and Thought Worthy entered in the final Classic of the season, confirmed that the Great Voltigeur at York next month was now the target, with a view to a run in the Doncaster Classic in September.
“We have Michaelangelo, Thought Worthy and these horses are all legitimate horses at that level,” Gosden said of the September 15 race. “They are all different ownership and it is up to the owners about what they do but I can work towards running them all in September."
It was Shantaram's fourth run of the season, having won at the July Course last time in soft ground as 1-8 favourite and the trainer underlined that it has taken his charge a long time to grow into his frame.
"He has improved a lot and has grown a lot - he's probably the biggest horse in the yard at 17 hands and change. It has taken time for him to mature," he added. "He needs his racing. He ran well at Lingfield on the artificial surface and I undercooked him here last time out when the ground was loose."
Winning jockey William Buick embroidered the picture that Shantaram has taken time to come to himself. "That was probably the first time that the penny has dropped for him," the 23-year-old rider said. "He did everything properly today and is a good horse but just needed loads of time."
Gosden won the Bahrain Trophy last season with Masked Marvel, who went on to win the St Leger. Paddy Power are a best-priced 16-1 for the St Leger about Shantaram, while Ladbrokes are 14-1.
Gosden also revealed that he intended to keep Nathaniel in at Monday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes declarations stage.
“I’d be pointing that way at the moment,” he added. “He came out of the race very well. He has eaten up, playful, cantered for three days and is very happy in himself. He has taken it very well at this stage, he’s surprised me. The King George is not out of the question.
“He has to tick all the boxes, his blood, scope, weight has to be right and he has to be eating well and feeling well.
“Middle distance horses like that need a long recovery time but I am impressed with how he has come out of it.”
The King George is run at Ascot next Saturday.