Desert Fire lights up Leicester to earn St Leger quotes

Thu 19 Jul 2018

Classic glory has been thin on the ground for Saeed Bin Suroor in recent seasons – but Desert Fire could help change that after receiving quotes for the St Leger following his victory at Leicester.

With an entry in next month’s Great Voltigeur at York to his name, the son of Cape Cross moved a step nearer to an outing in that Group Two contest when following up his recent Hamilton success with an emphatic 12-length victory in the Next EBF Novice Stakes.

The winner was introduced at 33-1 by Paddy Power and 20-1 by the big-race sponsors William Hill to give his trainer a sixth Leger success.

Saeed bin Suroor has a lot to look forward to with Desert Fire
Saeed bin Suroor has a lot to look forward to with Desert Fire

Winning jockey Pat Cosgrave said of the 1-16 favourite: “Obviously he was a very short price, but he is a likeable horse. I rode him at Hamilton and he was still very babyish. He hung with me and the penny finally dropped inside the last half-furlong at Hamilton.

“It was probably not ideal being in front, but he pricked his ears all the way up the straight. It was more like a morning gallop.

“I like him and he is a horse for the future. I think he is a mile-and-a-half horse.”

Kieran O'Neill is the lucky man who gets to ride Roaring Lion at home
Kieran O'Neill is the lucky man who gets to ride Roaring Lion at home

Riding Coral-Eclipse winner Roaring Lion in work on a regular basis is one of the benefits Kieran O’Neill has received since moving to Newmarket, and the 30-year-old celebrated another victory on the track when claiming the Juliana Abell Nursery aboard the Rod Millman-trained Greeley (14-1).

O’Neill said: “He gave me a nice feel. He was a bit green early on, but he finished well.”

Of Roaring Lion, he added: “I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Juddmonte International (at York, August 22). He is definitely the one to beat. I think the Juddmonte will suit him better, as it’s a big, galloping track. He has come out of the Eclipse fresh and well.”

Ben Curtis was rewarded for his pre-race diligence as the Heather Main-trained Island Cloud (7-4 favourite) completed a double for the rider when taking the High Sheriff Of Leicestershire British EBF Fillies’ Handicap by three lengths.

Curtis said: “I think the race was laid out for us, as there were two pace horses in the race. I got a little bit of cover and from the two-pole it was plain sailing.

“The couple of front runners were ideal, but I did my homework on the race.”

Tember (5-1) finally opened his account at the 12th time of asking when initiating Curtis’ double in the Weatherbys Selling Stakes.

The undulations at Brighton were not to the liking of the Luca Cumani-trained Recollect (9-4) last time out and Jamie Spencer’s mount left that effort behind when resolutely sticking to his task in the Dr Tom Connors Handicap.

Spencer said: “He always felt like a miler, but he shows a lot of speed at home so we gave him the chance to run over six furlongs last time and it didn’t work out.

“He has come through and won it nicely. Luca’s horses are in good form and long may it continue.”

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