St Leger 2009

The final Classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster, can once again be won by Frankie Dettori according to the long-standing agent of the Italian ace, Ray Cochrane.

The former champion jockey has won three of the last four renewals at Town Moor and is due to team-up with Bahrain Trophy and Geoffrey Freer Stakes victor Kite Wood for his retained stable employer Godolphin.

Godolphin themselves are chasing a fifth win in the race after Nedawi (1998), Mutafaweq (1999), Rule Of Law (2004) and Classic Cliche (1995) all triumphed previously.

Cochrane told "Kite Wood in my view represents decent value at around the 5/2 mark.

"The trip will suit and that won't be a worry, I think the only problem might be is if the going becomes too quick, as he does prefer a little juice in the ground.

"The forecast for the week up at Doncaster is fine, but looking at the line-up most will be in the same boat as far as the going is concerned. He's a grand heavy-topped horse, who wants decent ground to be seen at his very best.

"Although Kite Wood was beaten by Age Of Aquarius in the Derby at Epsom, the twists, turns and undulations didn't suit Kite Wood, the stable weren't in form and they (Godolphin) were still learning about the horse (who made the switch from Michael Jarvis' yard).

"I think there would be every chance that Kite Wood will stay in training as a four-year-old and with another winter on his back should develop into a leading and exciting 'Cup' horse next season."

As expected Great Voltigeur winner Monitor Closely, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, has been supplemented for the race at a cost of £45,000 and Cochrane believes the York winner might give Kite Wood the most to do.

Cochrane told us: "There is no question mark over whether Monitor Closely will go on the ground, for him it is a case of if he gets the trip.

"The Great Voltigeur is a proven trial for the St Leger and it was an impressive performance at York. He travelled well throughout the race and never looked in trouble from two furlongs out that day."

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, a three-time winner of the race in the last eight years, saddles the well-fancied duo of Age Of Aquarius and Changingoftheguard, as well as Rockhampton and Von Jawlensky.

Cochrane continued: "Although Age Of Aquarius was beaten last time out at Longchamp (in the Grand Prix De Paris) by Cavalryman, it was cracking performance by the runner-up because Andre Fabre rates his winner very highly and he is a leading Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe fancy.

"I wouldn't read too much into the fact that Johnny Murtagh has chosen to ride Age Of Aquarius (rather than partner Yeats in the Irish St Leger), it's certainly a plus having him aboard and like the others he should improve with the step-up in distance."

Godolphin's other runner Mastery finished second in the Great Voltigeur and third to Age Of Aquarius in the Grand Prix De Paris, but Cochrane doesn't rule out a big run.

He told us: "In all honesty I don't think there is a lot between Kite Wood, Age Of Aquarius, Monitor Closely and Mastery, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Mastery finish in the places."

"Cochrane added: "Changingoftheguard shouldn't be good enough. Although he met with trouble in the Ebor at York, he only goes into the final Classic of the season with handicap form behind him. He really has got to step-up on anything he's shown so far."

Above Average, Father Time and Mourayan complete the field.

Cochrane concluded: "Mourayan is a nice horse and has bits and pieces of form with Fame and Glory and Sea The Stars. Although he's got form on lots of different types of ground, I'd imagine John Oxx would have wanted to see it rain at Doncaster this week."

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