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2021 St Leger Tips - Is there Scope for an upset at Doncaster?

  • We've published our ante-post guide to the 2021 St Leger
  • The final Classic of the season takes place at Doncaster on Saturday 11th September
  • Hurricane Lane dominated the current St Leger betting
  • We've tipped up Scope as a lively outsider at 50/1
great voltigeur
Scope (right) finishing close behind Yibir, Sir Lucan and Youth Spirit in the Great Voltigeur Stakes. (Getty)
Jon Vine 09 Sep 2021
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The final Classic of the season is a little over a week away, where a field of talented three-year-olds contests the St Leger at Doncaster. The Leger is the oldest of the five Classic races in Britain, having first been run back in 1776, and victory in this fabled Group One guarantees the winner a spot in the history books.

We've taken a look through the ante-post betting for this year's St Leger, and picked out our best betting tips.
    Table Of Contents
  • 2021 St Leger Odds
  • 2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - The Favourite
  • 2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Avoid Aiden?
  • 2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Notable Challengers
  • 2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - The Chasing Pack
  • 2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Each-Way Selection

2021 St Leger Odds

Hurricane Lane8/11
Ottoman Emperor11/2
Mojo Star8/1
High Definition9/1
Sir Lucan20/1

*Odds taken on 9/9/21*

2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - The Favourite

Hurricane Lane2021 St Leger FavouriteGET 8/11 HERE
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Since Adayar was officially withdrawn and Lone Eagle was ruled out, Hurricane Lane has been cut into 8/11 to win the St Leger. Charlie Appleby has enjoyed a fantastic season with his three-year-olds and Hurricane Lane has contributed to that success with Classic victories in Ireland and France.

Anyone doubting whether the favourite will get this extended trip need only delve briefly into his breeding. Frankel has already sired a St Leger winner in Logician, and Hurricane Lane's dam was a Listed winner over two miles. 

Everything points towards a Hurricane Lane win at Doncaster. If he was to come back towards Evens before the off, then I'll certainly be having a late bet. As things stand, though, Hurricane Lane offers very little value from an ante-post standpoint, so I'll go off in search of an each-way alternative. 

2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Avoid Aiden?

High Definition2021 St Leger ContenderGET 9/1 HERE
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Aidan O'Brien accounts for eight of the 18 remaining entrants, as he bids to win the St Leger for the seventh time. However, the fact that all eight can currently be backed at prices of 14/1 or longer is highly unusual.

In the last 20 years, there's only been one year when O'Brien hasn't had a runner in the Leger go off at a single-figure price. I realise that there's plenty of time between now and September 11th for Sir Lucan, Wordsworth, The Mediterranean or even Interpretation to get backed into a much shorter price. But the fact they all sit so far away from the top of the market reflects the season O'Brien has endured thus far.

Ballydoyle will always unearth superstar three-year-olds and they've managed that in 2021, with Snowfall, Mother Earth and St Mark's Basilica winning eight Group Ones between them. Yet, from O'Brien's 64 three-year-old runners in Britain this season, he's managed just five winners and the three stars mentioned above account for all five.

O'Brien's eight St Leger entrants have run in 21 pattern races between them this season. They've managed just two wins at Listed level, and Sir Lucan only had to beat fellow entrant and stablemate Wordsworth to land one of those Listed races. It's clear Aidan O'Brien entrants this year are substandard, and none can even be trusted with an each-way bet.


High Definition has since been supplemented into the St Leger. While he may have looked a future star as a juveniles, Aidan O'Brien's star has failed to fire in three starts this season, and comes into this on the back of a poor performance in the Great Voltigeur Stakes. I'm sure each-way backers will latch onto High Definition, but I wouldn't back him on what he's produced so far in 2021.

2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Notable Challengers

Johnny Murtagh is enjoying a fantastic campaign this far, and Ottoman Emperor will be looking for his fifth victory on the bounce when he enters the St Leger. Many of the horse's Ottoman Emperor beat in dthe Gordon Stakes clashed again in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, with Yibir - who raced far too keenly at the front and faded back to sixth at Goodwood - coming out comfortably on top. 

Whether that race really boosts the form of Ottoman Emperor's Goodwood win, I'm not so sure. Yibir proved himself much the best at York and clearly ran under-par in the Gordon Stakes. Ottoman Emperor's form in Ireland is nothing to write home about and he looks a little too short in the betting for me.

As does Mojo Star, considering the only race he's won so far during his career was a maiden as the 1/6 favourite. Yes, Richard Hannon's colt did finish ahead of Hurricane Lane in the Derby, but that form was reversed emphatically in the Irish Derby, and it's certainly not a given that Mojo Star will take to this 14-and-a-half-furlongs trip.

2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - The Chasing Pack

Youth Spirit2021 St Leger ContenderGET 25/1 HERE
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Youth Spirit was only beaten two lengths at both Goodwood and York, but he looks fairly exposed at this stage. Fernando Vichi has only managed to beat The Mediterranean this season and recent performances offer little encouragement.

Yesyes managed to beat future March Stakes winner, Dancing King when they met over this distance at Chester, but she'll only be getting three pounds at Doncaster, as opposed to the five she was claiming at Chester, and she's yet to post an RPR in-excess of 100.

Fellow filly Save A Forest looks Listed or Group Three class at best, and Andrew Balding's second-string, Classic Lord is unlikely to run after that lengthy defeat in the March Stakes.

2021 St Leger Ante-Post Tips - Each-Way Selection

The only entrant with scope for significant improvement in this field is, in-fact, SCOPE. Ralph Beckett's charge ran just once as a juvenile - beating Mojo Star on unsuitably heavy ground at Newbury - and has only been seen three times so far in 2021.

Scope was out early, running in a novice stakes at Newmarket in April. Rossa Ryan's mount still looked very green that day, making good late progress to finish half-a-length behind Charlie Appleby's Al Waqidi, who hasn't been seen since.

Beckett's youngster then finished third behind Third Realm and Adayar in the Lingfield Derby Trial, a decent result considering the subsequent form of the runner-up. Following a 102-day absence, Scope entered the Great Voltigeur Stakes as the 28/1 outsider of the party. Rob Hornby decided to chase the pace-setting The Mediterranean and, although he did fade slightly, I thought Scope stuck to his guns gamely to cross the line fifth.

Scope will surely improve for that return run at York, and his rating has been pushed up to a very healthy 109 following that outing. He's also by a top staying-sire in Teofilo - whose recent progeny include Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter and Royal Ascot Gold Cup hero, Subjectivist - so stepping up to this sort of distance should also bring about further progression.


In a race that seems devoid of any real strength in depth behind Hurricane Lane, I think it's well worth having a punt on Scope at odds of 50/1.

2021 St Leger Tips: Scope Each-Way $51.00 at betfair - 5 Units

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