Thought emerges as worthy Leger hope for Gosden

John Gosden’s formidable hand for next month’s Ladbrokes St Leger gained further strength as Thought Worthy confirmed himself a major player with victory in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York yesterday.

The master of Clarehaven has saddled three of the last five winners of the Doncaster Classic and while all eyes will be on 2000 Guineas and Derby hero Camelot as he aims to complete the Triple Crown, Gosden looks set to launch a fantastic team assault.

Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens, Shantaram and Michelangelo could all be Town Moor-bound on September 15 and Thought Worthy confirmed his place in the squad with a teak-tough effort on the Knavesmire. Fourth in the Derby and third in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, the 9-1 chance was ridden positively by William Buick, setting only steady fractions early on.

He crucially wound up the pace rounding the home turn, however, and found himself with a handy advantage, having seemingly caught his rivals napping.

Derby runner-up and hot favourite Main Sequence came with a strong late challenge heading inside the final furlong, but Thought Worthy really knuckled down to his task when it mattered to take Group Two honours by a neck.

Gosden said: “The great thing about having an outside draw in a small field is that you can watch everyone.

“William gave him a very smart ride and nicked three lengths travelling into the home straight.

“His brother (Lucarno) won this and went to the Leger and won.

“There is no reason why he shouldn’t run either.

“We always thought he could be a Leger horse.”

Of his other possible Doncaster challengers, the trainer said: “They are all there to run (in the Leger) if they are in good order.”

Main Sequence’s trainer, David Lanigan, said: “It turned into a bit of a sprint and it’s just one of those things.

“He’s done nothing wrong, but we’ll see how he is and how he comes out of this before we make any plans.”

On a day when the incredible Frankel stole the show with yet another breathtaking performance in the Juddmonte International, his owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, enjoyed more success as Dundonnell claimed the Pinsent Masons LLP Acomb Stakes.

Roger Charlton’s 15-8 favourite travelled powerfully in the hands of James Doyle and although he showed signs of inexperienced late on, giving Steeler a chance to get a blow in, Dundonnell was good value for his three-quarters-of-a-length victory.

Charlton said: “I was really impressed by that.

“James felt it was a bit muddly up front, he just pulled him out and he got there too soon.

“A mile should be absolutely fine for him.

“He obviously deserves to step up in grade, so that probably means a Group One race.”

Veteran sprinter Tax Free (7-1) got the Ebor Festival off to the perfect start for Yorkshire by claiming a narrow victory in the Symphony Group Stakes for Thirsk handler David Nicholls.

The trainer said: “He’s 10 years of age and he ran at the weekend, but the owner persuaded me to run him again.

“It’s great when you get to that age and are still able to perform at that level.”

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