St Leger preview: Classic case to be made for Il Paradiso

Published on: September 12, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
Our 2019 St Leger preview says Il Paradiso is the value bet in the Doncaster Classic

Il Paradiso looks decent value to land the final Classic of the season at Doncaster on Saturday, the historic Group 1 St Leger run over an extended 1m 6f (15:35).

This three-year-old colt hails from the Irish yard of Aidan O’Brien. He has won the race six times courtesy of Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003), Scorpion (2005), Leading Light (2013), Capri (2017) and Kew Gardens (2018).

In Il Paradiso, he has a beautifully bred son of Galileo who has won two of his four starts this season and a progressive profile.

The last of those successes came two starts back in a 2m handicap at The Curragh where he registered a facile 12-length success over Shakspear’sgalley. The runner-up had won two of his three previous starts.

Trossachs, who finished a further 3 1/2 lengths back in third, went into the race on the back of a hat-trick of successes – so it was a most taking display against some fair sorts.

It earned Il Paradiso a crack at the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup over 2m at York. He ran an absolute stormer to finish a 1 1/4 lengths third to star stayer Stradivarius, who is rated 121.

Il Paradiso led entering the final two furlongs and only weakened close home, losing second on the nod to Dee Ex Bee. That is strong staying form and he won’t be inconvenienced by the drop back in trip.

Stable companion Western Australia looks in the race as a pacemaker, ensuring there are no hiding places for unconfirmed stayers.

A repeat of his run in the Lonsdale is sure to see Il Paradiso go close in this, so at 13/2 with Ladbrokes he looks the one to be on.

Logician St Leger odds plenty short enough

Logician heads the betting at a standout 11/10 with Unibet and, if successful, will become the first St Leger winner to have an unblemished record since the mighty Nijinsky prevailed on Town Moor in 1970.

He’s also attempting to become the first colt sired by the mighty Frankel to win a Classic.

Frankel’s previous progeny to have won a Classic have been fillies, with Soul Stirring landing the Japanese Oaks in 2017 and Anapurna scooping this year’s Epsom Oaks.

Trained by the in-form John Gosden, who goes for a sixth St Leger triumph, Logician is unbeaten in four starts.

After comfortably landing a 19-runner maiden by two lengths on debut at Newbury, he followed-up in good style at Newmarket when running on strongly to account for dual subsequent winner Away He Goes by 1 1/2 lengths.

He then made a total mockery of his opening handicap mark of 90 when romping to a facile 4 1/2 length success over Natty Night at Newbury.

The Khalid Abdullah owned colt then took the step up into Group 2 company in his stride when a commanding winner of the Great Voltiguer over 1m 4f at York.

After taking up the running two from home, Logician stayed on strongly and comfortably beat Constantinople by 1 3/4 lengths.

It was a most taking display, but the runner-up had previously been beaten in a handicap and a Group 3 at Goodwood, so the form looks questionable.

Logician also now tackles an extended 1m 6f for the first time, and on breeding is far from certain to stay. So, at the cramped odds on offer, there are enough reasons to take him on.

Sir Dragonet needs to bounce back

Ballydoyle handler O’Brien also saddles Sir Dragonet, who is shorter in the betting than Il Paradiso and can be backed at 3/1 with BetVictor.

After landing a Tipperary maiden over the 1m 4f, this three-year-old son of Camleot was pitched straight into Group 3 company and put in a stunning display in the Chester Vase.

Sir Dragonet was held-up in last place during the early stages, before making stealthy headway two from home.

He then took up the running approaching the final furlong and scooted clear to slam stable companion Norway by eight lengths. That jaw-dropping success saw him sent off the 11/4 favourite for the Epsom Derby.

Sir Dragonet held every chance inside the final furlong, before being unable to find any extra and weakening late on to finish three-quarters of a length behind Anthony Van Dyck in fifth.

It was a fine effort for one so inexperienced. Following a break he ran very flat last time out when turned over at 4/9, however, when finishing a three-length fourth of seven to Buckhurst in a Group 3 over 1m 2f at The Curragh.

Sir Dragonet now needs to bounce back. He’s out of a dam called Sparrow who raced no further than 1m 1f and whose father was top class sprinter Oasis Dream.

That raises stamina doubts now stepped up in trip. Sir Dragonet is another that makes limited appeal at the odds on offer.

Sir Ron Priestley appeals each-way

Middleham handler Mark Johnston is enjoying a terrific season and saddles Nayef Road and Sir Ron Priestley. Clear preference is for the latter, who has won five of his six starts this year.

This Australia colt is owned by Paul Dean, one of Johnston’s long-standing patron. Franny Norton partners Sir Ron Priestley aged 49 and his decorated CV is missing a Group 1 winner.

He comes into the contest on the back of a career-best when landing the Group 3 March Stakes at Goodwood.

Sir Ron Priestley made all and, after quickening on three from home, found plenty when challenged to gamely beat the highly-regarded Promissory by 1 1/4 lengths.

Epsom Oaks fourth Manuela De Vega finished a further 1 1/2 lengths behind in third, so that gives the form a solid look.

It was also a first try at 1m 6f for Sir Ron Piestley and he appeared to relish the step up in trip.

This demands more, but he is a progressive and likeable sort who looks sure to give it his best shot.

Thus, at 11/1 with Betway, Sir Ron Priestley features as the each-way punt and completes this 2019 St Leger preview.