Laura Mongan is set to saddle her first Classic runner in the Group One Ladbrokes St Leger, the highlight of the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster on Ladbrokes St Leger Day, Saturday, September 10.
The Epsom-based trainer is responsible for lightly-raced Harbour Law who has run well in two recognised trials this season. The three-year-old Lawman colt was runner-up to Sword Fighter (Aidan O’Brien) in the two-mile Listed Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before dropping back three furlongs in trip and taking a close fourth behind Housesofparliament (Aidan O’Brien) in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on July 7.
Mongan, bidding to become the first female trainer to win the world’s oldest Classic, said: “I think we have done the right thing by not running Harbour Law between Newmarket and the St Leger.
“It has freshened him up and he did a nice piece of work around Kempton last week, so he is good to go.
“He ran well at Newmarket considering the drop back in trip probably wasn’t ideal for him. The St Leger distance will be more suitable and I think he is worthy of going there.
“It does look an open race and, while there is no doubt he will have to put in a real good performance to get involved, we think he is capable of doing so.
“We are not going there just to make up the numbers.”
Pam Sly is officially the only female British trainer to have saddled a British Classic winner – Speciosa in the 2006 1,000 Guineas. Helen Johnson Houghton trained the 1956 2,000 Guineas hero Gilles De Retz, although the colt ran in the name of her assistant trainer Charles Jardine due to women being unable to hold a training licence at the time.
The closest a female trainer has come to winning the Ladbrokes St Leger was in 2001, when Amanda Perrettt saddle Demophilos to finish runner-up to Milan.
Irish Derby runner-up Idaho (Aidan O’Brien) heads the ante-post betting market at Evens with Ladbrokes on the back of a decisive victory in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 17. The 12-furlong contest is a good pointer to Doncaster with Milan (2001), Rule Of Law (2004) and Lucarno (2007) all doing the double since the turn of the century.
There is a £50,000 supplementary entry stage for the Ladbrokes St Leger on Monday, September 5, when the five-day acceptors will also be unveiled.