It is great to see a really good race for the often-criticised William Hill St Leger, which is a contest that always delivers despite it being slightly unloved. Hopefully the public affection will grow again on Saturday and my love will certainly increase if Crystal Ocean proves himself of Classic-winning standard.
This horse was front page news earlier in the season when he was a springer in the ante-post market for the Derby but I get the impression that might have been a bit of a ruse on a slow news day, as he looked very much a long-term project when he ran with credit, displaying immaturity in the Dante Stakes at York.
He missed Epsom, and again showed his inexperience at Royal Ascot but announced he was ready in no uncertain terms last time at Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes.
Speed is not his strong point but a powerful, long stride is and I am sure he will get the trip and will be ideally suited by the long straight on Town Moor.
There are several in this field who have comparable form in the book but I doubt whether the likes of Capri (lucky in one Classic and not going to win two in book), Defoe and Coronet (both progressive but this is a big step) can win this.
That was a great effort in the Ormonde Stakes and there is not a rival as good as Western Hymn in this.
Graham Lee is excellent, and has been profitable to follow, at Chester. The only concern is the absence since May. The market will be our guide, but if he does not drift markedly I believe he is a good thing in the 2.45.
Dan Troop scored for the very promising Conor Murtagh over course and distance and under similar soft conditions.
It is no surprise that Richard Fahey does not change that winning formula on Saturday afternoon. He was lucky with the draw in stall two last time and has possibly done even better getting stall one. This horse has got the winning habit and I do not believe the handicapper has got him yet.
Dave Nevison's Saturday tips: (Prices correct at 6pm)
2.40 Chester: Duretto at a generally available 7-4
3.15 Chester: Dan Troop at a generally available 7-2
3.35 Doncaster: Crystal Ocean at generally available 9-2