Connections of Saturday’s impressive Group 1 William Hill St Leger winner Kew Gardens have signalled that a possible drop back in trip to tackle the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Paris Longchamp on October 7 is now being seriously considered.
Ryan Moore partnered the Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo colt to a two-and-a-half-length success over the previously unbeaten filly Lah Ti Dar, outstaying the John Gosden-trained star over the extended mile and-three-quarter trip on Town Moor. Earlier in the season the Ballydoyle star had built on his win in the Group 1 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot by dropping back in distance to land the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, a performance that appears to have convinced connections he can hold his own with the best in Europe over 12 furlongs.
Speaking in the aftermath of the win of the yard’s Flag Of Honour in Sunday’s Group 1 Irish St Leger at the Curragh, O’Brien told reporters:
“The way the lads were talking last night the Arc is definitely an option. When I spoke with Ryan about the horse he said that while Kew Gardens will stay further, we don’t need to go the Gold Cup distance with him and that he’d have no problem going back to a mile and a half.
“He has a Group 1 win to his credit over the trip. We’ll see how he is over the next week or so, then make a decision about Longchamp.”
O’Brien’s recently retired Flag Of St George, an Ascot Gold Cup winner, managed to hold his own over the mile shorter trip of the Arc on two occasions, finishing third in 2016 and four to Enable in last year’s renewal no doubt offering encouragement about Kew Gardens’ chance of running well.
Enable, bidding for back-to-back Arc successes, dominates the ante-post market for the big race following her superb comeback win in the September Stakes at Kempton and is a top priced 5/4 with 10bet. Kew Gardens is a best priced 20/1 with Ladbrokes, but many firms are more cautious offering as just 12/1 in light of the Irish colt’s impressive St Leger victory.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.