A fascinating new contender looks set to be added to the St Leger conversation, as Joseph O’Brien is poised to send over Galileo Chrome for the Doncaster Classic. The Irish horse has probably sailed under the radar for most British-based punters as the public chatter has centred on Santiago and Pyledriver but he impressed in winning the Yeats Stakes at Navan a week ago.
O’Brien said on Sunday afternoon that he and Galileo Chrome’s owners had not reached a final decision but added: “There’s a good chance he could end up at Doncaster.
“He ran a mile and five last time and he was finishing strongly, so that would suggest he would be able to go the extra distance. He seems quite versatile, ground-wise. We’re seriously considering Doncaster.”
In the circumstances, it seems odds-on that Galileo Chrome will figure among the entries to be published on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, the betting market seems to have made up its mind, as the horse was a general 8-1 shot on Sunday evening, having been 20-1 early on Saturday.
Galileo Chrome is unbeaten in three races this year, though he skipped what would have been his toughest assignment, being withdrawn on the morning of the Irish Derby with a stone bruise. In strict form terms, he achieved little in his first two wins, though he did have the subsequent Derby winner, Serpentine, behind him in his Curragh maiden.
Stepping significantly up in trip, Galileo Chrome proved his stamina in the Yeats, a Listed contest, travelling strongly and readily pulling five lengths clear of a 103-rated rival. “Please God, he’s a proper horse,” said O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell, afterwards. “He’s got a massive future.”
It’ll be interesting to see if the market enthusiasm is sustained. Those who got 20-1 will feel smug if he turns up but 8-1 seems short enough to me about such an untried horse taking on winners of the Irish Derby and the Great Voltigeur.
Monday’s best bets
From Ditcheat, Somerset to Perth racecourse is a round trip of 900 miles, so it’s understandable that Paul Nicholls asks very few of his horses to make the journey to Britain’s most northerly track. He’s had just seven runners there over the last five seasons, three of which have won, a tally which may be improved by Oleg (3.40) today.
A grey with a bit of size who was able to win over fences as a four-year-old, he has shown improvement on the Flat this summer, winning at Pontefract and faring respectably at Glorious Goodwood. A bit of time between his races seems to be important, so a flop on his second attempt over fences, just 11 days after the first, is easily forgiven.
At 7-4, he looks like being a warm order here but should prove well treated, with plenty more to offer.
The Distant Lady (3.10) is another for whom the follow-up attempt went awry, she having won at Southwell in July before disappointing 11 days later. A lightly weighted rival got first run on her that day and now she’s another 5lb higher but she should be ready to go again after a break for a wind operation. The 6-1 looks all right.
Raymond (4.15) has possibilities at 11-1. He travelled well for a fair way last time, just his second start in a handicap, and should be sharper for it. The step down in trip seems a good move.
Lingfield stages Flat racing on turf and Volcano Bay (1.30) can get back to winning ways. She was well beaten at odds-on on the all-weather here last month, when returned to the track soon after a Yarmouth success. There were a few factors but fundamentally it probably came too soon.
She can be seen to better effect this time, with Cieren Fallon up, at 4-1 or so.