John Gosden’s record in the world’s oldest classic race, the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger set to be run at Doncaster on September 15, is second to none, so when the Newmarket handler suggests that punters shouldn’t rule out his Michelangelo after the colt’s defeat in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, it’s probably worth taking note.
Gosden has enjoyed an outstanding season with a hatful of Group 1 winners and many people expected his seemingly progressive Michelangelo to take all the beating at the Sussex track in a contest seen as a key trial for the St Leger and for which he was sent off the 6/4 favourite. It was clear some three furlongs from home that the Galileo colt wasn’t particularly at home on the undulating Goodwood track however, and William Buick’s mount was soon under pressure when the tempo lifted going into the final quarter mile
Both Noble Mission and Encke swept past the labouring market leader and fought out a tremendous finish, (the former gaining the verdict by a nose), with Michelangelo coming home further two-and-a-half lengths back in a one paced third place.
The betting tips horse racing community’s reaction to the defeat was swift as the three-year-old was pushed out from as short as 6/1 second-favourite in the ante-post market for the last classic of the term, to as big as 16/1 in places.
Gosden however was quick to remind anyone prepared to listen that his Arctic Cosmos also came only third in the Gordon Stakes two years ago before famously going to glory in the St Leger six weeks later, and having sent out the winner at Town Moor no less than three times in the last five renewals it is significant that he still believes that back on a flatter, galloping track, Michelangelo remains a serious force to reckon with.
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