Betfred St Leger A To Z: Frankie Dettori Graces The Classic For The Last Time

Everything you need to know about the iconic Doncaster event
17:00, 15 Sep 2023

The Betfred St Leger, first run in 1776, is the World’s oldest classic and has an illustrious roll of honour with names such as Milan, User Friendly, Reference Point and Nijinsky amongst them.

This year, trainer Aidan O’Brien, who is responsible for four entries, and jockey Frankie Dettori, who is set to ride in his final St Leger, are both bidding to win the race for a seventh time, while John Gosden, who will saddle a trio of runners, looks to match those with a sixth success.

You can hear an exclusive interview with six time Betfred St Leger winning trainer Aidan O’Brien here.

We have also spoken to five time Betfred St Leger winning trainer John Gosden.

Here I run thorough all nine runners who will face the starter at 3:35pm on Saturday.


Went off odds on favourite for the recognised Derby trial, the Ballysax Stakes in April on the back of a maiden success at Galway last September. Not the clearest of runs over the Leger trip at Leopardstown but didn’t scream St Leger winner either as had the chance to run on. Connections clearly keeping faith but looks third string at best.


Significant market support came for Arrest after Monday’s deluge at Doncaster as a proven mudlark and is now the high profile mount of Frankie Dettori as a result. Beat Irish Derby runner-up Adelaide River hands down in testing ground at Chester in May and after poor runs in the Betfred Derby and at Royal Ascot on good to firm ground, returned to form at Newbury on a softer surface. Was getting weight off his elders there but did it comfortably enough. 

The ground looks the key to him and while others appear to have stronger form credentials, the Frankie factor will be in full swing. Almost certain to go off favourite, as for landing the Betfred St Leger, I’m not convinced. 


Progressed from a York handicap May that saw him purchased by Godolphin, into a solid staying prospect. Held by some of these on form having finished behind Gregory in the Queen’s Vase and narrowly behind Desert Hero in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. Expected to run his race but some of the opposition may need to underperform for him to be the latest classic winner.


Came off a very strong pace to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York with Gregory well back in third. Was a close third in the Dante back in May but was the stable number one for the French Derby over ten furlongs but ran no race. Ran a fine second to King Of Steel at Royal Ascot with Arrest well beaten off but yet to conclusively prove he stays, although breeding offers hope.

Choice of Ryan Moore of the stable quartet who will aim to give Aidan O’Brien a seventh win in the race.


Winning debutant who was narrowly beaten at Longchamp on Arc day. Behind Alexandroupolis in the Ballysax Stakes but a long absence may explain that performance. Returned with an excellent second to Middle Earth in the Melrose at York when giving weight away with Aidan O’Brien very happy with hat effort as he was only just ready to return. Only a fair effort again at Haydock last Saturday in handicap company but that was behind a potentially useful horse who he was again giving weight too. Looks stable fourth string but doubt we have seen the best of him.



Could we see a first Royal classic success since Dunfermline won this very race in 1977 for the late Her Majesty The Queen with the Kings runner?

As for the horse himself, early talk of Derby potential proved premature when beaten at Sandown and then well held in the London Gold Cup on seasonal bow. However, not looked back since and followed a big priced Royal Ascot success in a race run to suit by narrowly defeating Chesspiece in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Two from two over twelve furlongs with the potential to improve over further.

A big chance to spread the Horse Racing over the front page worldwide.


Looked every part a Betfred St Leger horse when quickening off the front to win the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Set very stern fractions when trying to make all in the Great Voltigeur and despite beaten nearly five lengths, did run on again close home and still took some pulling up.

Going back up in trip will certainly suit but shelved by Frankie Dettori and yet to run on grounder worse than soft. However, could drift to a very appealing price.


Only came to light as a Betfred St Leger candidate when impressively landing the Melrose Handciap at York three weeks ago (Denmark back in second) and supplemented at a cost of £50,000. Will need to finish first three to justify the spend and adds a solid third strong to John & Thady Gosden’s bow as they search for a sixth win in the race.

Only made his debut in June but form is beginning to stack up and although takes a huge step up in class and has 13lb to find, has not had the chance like the others to secure a top rating. Improving at a rapid rate and fancied to be involved if handling the ground (has won on good to soft).


The one horse that is truly bred for the job of a St Leger is Tower Of London. He is a full brother to 2017 Betfred St Leger winner Capri and looks likely to relish every yard of the trip. 

He was sent off just 2/1 against stablemate Auguste Rodin on his final 2yo start but was well beaten and the same fete befell him on seasonal return in the Derby Trial Stakes. It is a concern that both those runs were on soft ground but his recent efforts give him a decent chance. A listed success preceded and easy win in the Ulster Derby and he was backed as if he was a certainty in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket. A dropped whip there from almost certainly cost him victory and he would be a bit shorter in the market had he won at HQ. that form ties in closely with Gregory and Continuous and I expect him to give Jim Crowley a good spin.


A fascinating renewal of the Betfred St Leger with the potential for stories everywhere you turn.

Arrest will be the subject of swathes of support with the public eager to join in the #FarewellFrankie tour, and the rain has come in time to aid his chances. 

It means that Gregory has the potential to drift to an appealing price should he reach 5/1+ but its actually the other John Gosden horse that I like in MIDDLE EARTH. He has progressed rapidly and been added to the race at a cost of £50,000 after winning at York.

Desert Hero has improved for a mile and a half and could go further over an extra quarter of a mile and rates a danger while Tower Of London can complete the frame.

latest betfred racing odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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