Jo Hughes will saddling her first Classic runner in the St Leger
Last Updated: September 11, 2013 5:26pm
Paul Hanagan rides outsider London Bridge
Jo Hughes is looking forward to saddling her first British Classic runner when London Bridge lines up for the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.
The dual-purpose trainer, who sent out Soll to finish seventh in this year's John Smith's Grand National at Aintree, has no qualms about the trip for the Arch colt.
London Bridge improved for a step up in distance and notched a hat-trick of handicaps in a two weeks in June with two wins over a mile and a quarter and one over a mile and a half.
And he was a respectable fourth in a Listed event over a mile and seven furlongs at Deauville.
"I couldn't be happier with him and I'm pleased he's taking his chance," she said. "Slow ground wouldn't be ideal - the quicker the better. I wouldn't mind bit a bit of cut in the ground, but wouldn't want it too soft.
"The further the better with him. He's a galloper. He can just keep up a relentless gallop. I had a runner in the French Derby, but this is my first Classic runner in Britain."
The Lambourn trainer is delighted to have snapped up two-times champion jockey Paul Hanagan.
"I couldn't be happier with the jockey. It's such a good booking," she said.
London Bridge is a 50/1 chance with sponsors Ladbrokes, while even bigger at 66/1 in the world's oldest Classic is Irish challenger Ralston Road, trained by former jockey Pat Shanahan.
Ralston Road has been highly tried and not disgraced in the Irish Derby and in the Queen's Vase. Like London Bridge, the extended mile and three-quarters is seen as the least of his problems.
"The big positive for him is that he stays all day, so the trip will be no problem to him," said County Kilkenny-based Shanahan. "It was a good run at Ascot (in the Queen's Vase) and he would have finished closer if he hadn't suffered interference. A horse like him that stays can't afford to get chopped up by having his stride broken.
"He's tough, as well. He came from Ascot over two miles and ran eight days later in the Irish Derby over a mile and a half. It was a respectable run at the Curragh.
"I'm expecting a good run. I thought his run at Newbury (in the Geoffrey Freer) was very good. He finished last but he wasn't beaten many lengths by good, genuine staying horses like Red Cadeaux and Lost In The Moment."