Blue and Beach top Leger list

CLASSIC winners Blue Bunting and Treasure Beach are among a quality 36-strong entry for the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on September 10.

The former, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, has won both the 1000 Guineas and Irish Oaks while Treasure Beach landed the Irish Derby for Aidan O’Brien after finishing second to Pour Moi in the Investec Derby.

They are 10-1 and 8-1 respectively with the sponsors, whose 4-1 favourite is Nathaniel, who is trained by three-time race winner John Gosden.

Nathaniel, impressive winner of the King Edward VII Stakes, goes for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes after being supplemented for Saturday’s Ascot showpiece.

Gosden has three other possibles, Bahrain Trophy victor Masked Marvel, Thimaar and Buthelezi.

Blue Bunting is one of four entries for Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni along with Casamento, Genius Beast and French Navy.

Fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor, has just Leicester maiden winner Laatafreet this time.

Treasure Beach is one of 10 from the O’Brien stable that has three St Leger wins.

Also among the Ballydoyle contingent is Seville, Wonder Of Wonders and Memphis Tennessee.

Dominant team opt for York test

DOMINANT will run in the Sky Bet York Stakes this weekend rather than travel to France to take in the Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte.

The prospect of soft ground and a slow pace in France led to connections feeling he would be better suited to the test of the Group Two on the Knavesmire.

Trained by Roger Varian, the three-year-old old was a very impressive winner of the £150,000 Tattersalls Millions Cup at Newmarket when last seen.

“We‘ve had a good discussion and we‘ve taken the decision to go to York,” said Harry Herbert, racing manager for the owners, Highclere Thoroughbred.

“There‘s not a lot between the two races, but the ground is looking like it could be very soft in France and a bit better at York. We just thought at this stage we‘d keep him to home soil.

“We feel the track and pace will suit him better at York. It‘s a marginal thing but we‘ve taken the advice of the trainer and he hasn‘t done much wrong yet. Roger is still taking advice from Michael Jarvis as well, and it never hurts to have a wise old head on board.”

Johnson hearing starts in London

HOWARD Johnson could be fighting for his training career as he answers serious charges at a British Horseracing Authority inquiry.

The County Durham handler is in London for the hearing after admitting to running a horse that had undergone a palmar neurectomy whilst under his care.

The neurectomy to the horse’s left fore leg came to light following a post-mortem carried out on Striking Article after the horse was pulled up and euthanized at Musselburgh on February 7, 2010.

The procedure involves severing nervous connection to the lower leg to cause numbness. It is banned under the Rules of Racing on welfare grounds.

Striking Article underwent the procedure in April 2008 yet ran eight times afterwards. Johnson claims he was unaware of the rule that states he should not have run the horse.

Johnson has also been charged under a separate investigation in relation to the administration of laurabolin, an anabolic steroid containing nandrolone, to three other horses under his care – Whisky Mac, Mintaka Pass and Montoya’s Son.

Johnson is represented by solicitor Rory Mac Niece, and the BHA by Graeme McPherson QC.

The case started yesterday morning and is expected to last two days. It is unlikely there will be a decision at the close of play today.

Waffle to bypass Stewards’ date

WAFFLE, runner-up in the Wokingham Stakes, is unlikely to seek to go one better in the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup.

Instead, trainer David Barron is looking at an autumn campaign for the five-year-old, who appreciates plenty of cut in the ground.

“Waffle won’t run in the Stewards’ Cup. He’ll wait,” said the Thirsk handler.

“There’s a Group Three at Tipperary in mid-August that he may be targeted for.

“It would be a possibility if the ground were to come up soft, but we are looking at a backend campaign.

“I know there is rain around at present but he is a better horse when we get soft ground.

“Rather than do too much with now, we are looking at later on.”

Waffle has generally been available at 16-1 for the big sprint handicap at Glorious Goodwood.

However, Barron, who has won the Stewards’ Cup twice with For The Present (1994) and Coastal Bluff (1996), hopes to run Colonel Mak in the six-furlong cavalry charge.

The four-year-old, allotted 8st 11lb, warmed up for a tilt at the Goodwood prize with second place in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton on Friday.

“Colonel Mak will, all being well, go for the Stewards’ Cup. He ran well the other day,” Barron added.

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