A race that on the face of it looked wide open and questionable in terms of strength, gave us a race of depth and quality; that was the conclusion after events on Turf Moor this afternoon.
The St Leger winner Leading Light, remains a horse of potential, despite becoming a Classic winner – and in the process, the horses with existing Classic form, franked their earlier performances by filling the minor honours in this race. In short, that race shaped up well and the form looks solid, with the cream rising to the surface.
The winner is reportedly a lazy individual and as such, may have more improvement in him. In an open year, he could well take a major role in the Arc de Triomphe, particularly if there is cut in the ground, as he is improving, gets the trip, seems straight forward, has won going right-handed and is relatively lightly-raced, having had a summer break as is the case with so many of the leading French contenders.
However, Joseph O’Brien had to roust him along early doors in this St Leger and the usual frenetic early pace of the Arc could prove problematic if Leading Light took his chance and was drawn on towards the inside – if he lacks tactical pace early on, the Arc could provide a rough race for him.
One can certainly see this horse taking high order next year in the big middle distance races and it was interesting to hear Aidan O’Brien indicate that the horse does not lack speed. Whether that will prove the case if he continues to be lazy – and given fast ground, remains to be seen.
Talent has run back to her best form and seems infinitely better with a bit of cut in the ground and the same appears true of Libertarian, a Derby runner-up in June and a solid fourth here. Galileo Rock ran very well and had every chance in this race – he stayed on one-paced (as he appears to have done several times this season) and just lacked that touch of brilliance. The rain-softened ground may have dented his speed slightly and he looks good for races like the Yorkshire Cup and Lonsdale next year given a firmish surface.
A word for Foundry, who appeared outpaced for a long way but came through horses in the home straight before falling short in the final furlong when threatening to place; this was only his third race and his second back after a long lay-off. He may not have quite got the trip but mixed it with Derby placed horses and an Oaks winner until the final furlong, underlining his obvious ability.
This may well have been a St Leger we will look back on with fond memories and perhaps in more than one case, that may be because some of the protagonists will go on to achieve more in their careers next year.