Sir Ron Priestley to target staying campaign next season

Leger runner-up set for a break first

  • Sunday 22 September
  • News
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St Leger runner-up Sir Ron Priestley is unlikely to run again this season as his connections cast eyes forward to a top staying campaign next summer.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt posted a career-best effort when chasing home the unbeaten Logician in the final Classic of the season at Doncaster on his most recent start.

With the son of Australia securing Group Three glory on his penultimate start at Goodwood, which was his fifth victory this term, hopes are high that he can achieve even greater things as a four-year-old.

Charlie Johnston, son and assistant trainer, said: “We were very pleased with Sir Ron Priestley, because we always thought he would be performing at this sort of level at the start of the season.

“We went to Royal Ascot thinking he was one of our bankers. But he completely flopped, and it was back to the drawing board, and entries in big races looked fanciful.

“His Haydock and Goodwood wins put him back on track, and he fulfilled everything we hoped he would be.

“He has been a very good staying three-year-old up to a mile and three-quarters, and we hope he will stay that bit further and be a cup horse next season. I’d say he would be unlikely to run again this season.”

Finishing a place behind Sir Ron Priestley at Town Moor was stablemate Nayef Road, who may have one more outing before the season is out in the Group Two Qatar Prix Chaudenay at ParisLongchamp on October 5.

Johnston added: “He is in the one-mile-seven Group Two on Arc weekend, and that is the only real possibility for him now.

“I was adamant to run him in the St Leger, although dad was not so sure. In the Voltigeur he was disappointing – but that track would have been sharp enough for him – (and) before that he had been placed in the Queen’s Vase, Bahrain Trophy and won the Gordon Stakes.

“The step back up to the extended mile six was much more to his forte, and the gap to Logician was a lot narrower.”

Themaxwecan will be tasked with trying to give Johnston a record-equalling fourth victory in next month’s Emirates Cesarewitch at Newmarket – for which he is a general 20-1 chance.

Johnston added: “Themaxwecan is probably our main one for the Cesarewitch. He has proved that his form is at two miles, and it looks like he will relish the the two and a quarter miles in the Cesarewitch.

“He is a horse we like a lot, and he ran in the Lingfield Derby Trial and the Queen’s Vase because we thought he would be able to make his mark in pattern-race company.

“The wheels slightly came off – but since going two miles, he has shown he is a really good stayer. We have him around next season, but the Cesarewitch is a good end-of-season target.”

Sir Ron Priestley to target staying campaign next season
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