Tim Easterby has his fingers crossed for Wells Farhh Go as his star colt bids to enhance his prospects for the William Hill St Leger in the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on Wednesday.
Easterby lifted the world’s oldest Classic with Bollin Eric in 2002 and looks to have a serious contender for Doncaster this year in Wells Farhh Go, after he put up a front-running display to win the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.
“He’s in very good form. I’m very happy with him and the aim is the Leger,” said Easterby.
“He wants good ground and he’s in good order, so it’s fingers crossed.”
He will be ridden by David Allan, who is looking forward to the race.
“He’s obviously a very good horse, but it’s a very good race,” Allan told Racing UK.
“It will be interesting to see how he runs here with the Leger in mind.
“He was by far the best horse at Newmarket, we just rode him wrong earlier in the season.”
Kew Gardens is ante-post favourite for the St Leger on the back of a fruitful summer that has seen him claim victories in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.
He is burdened with a 5lb penalty, but is reported to be in fine shape by his trainer Aidan O’Brien.
“He’s in good form,” said O’Brien.
“We’re looking at Doncaster with Kew Gardens, but he’d like a nice bit of ground so it will probably be where the ground is going to be nice that he’d go.”
O’Brien saddles no fewer than four in the race with Nelson, The Pentagon and Zabriskie also taking their chances.
Cross Counter was an impressive winner of the Gordon Stakes – a recognised Leger trial – in record time, but he is ineligible for the Classic as he is a gelding.
Instead, he is being aimed at the Melbourne Cup by trainer Charlie Appleby.
“Cross Counter must have a great chance of winning the Voltigeur, though we respect plenty of others in a strong field,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.
“He showed his potential last start, and I feel he remains on an upward curve,” he added.
Appleby is also represented by Old Persian, who lifted the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting but could not match that feat in the Irish Derby.
“Put a line through his last run,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“Backing up was quick enough, but the tactics were not what we expected either, and he wasn’t suited.
“I feel this is the right race for him and the track will suit him, as it’s a nice, galloping track. This has been very much the plan since the Irish Derby.
“We’ve got to get the Voltigeur out of the way first and foremost, but obviously if he goes and wins that, it puts him right in the mix for the St Leger.”
Frankie Dettori feels conditions might be too fast for his mount, Sevenna Star.
John Gosden’s charge looked good when winning Sandown’s Classic Trial in the spring, but disappointed in the Derby and has not run since.
“He comes here having had a long lay-off since the Derby,” Dettori said in his Ladbrokes blog.
“I am concerned about the ground, I am afraid it will be a little bit too quick for him.”