Gosden and Buick win Leger again with Marvel
Report: Doncaster, Saturday
Ladbrokes St Leger (Group 1) 1m6½f, 3yo colts & fillies
MASKED MARVEL showed he possesses stamina in abundance, while not lacking a turn of foot, as he gave trainer John Gosden and jockey William Buick back-to-back St Leger victories.
It was a fourth win in the race for Gosden after Shantou (1996), Lucarno (2007) and Arctic Cosmos last year.
Gosden said: "From the day I saw him at the Deauville sales I thought he could be a Leger horse. He's done nothing wrong all his life, he ran very well at Goodwood, and then Epsom [in the Derby] confused him. Mr [Bjorn] Nielsen allowed me to back off him and bring him back fresh and this has been the plan for about two years."
There was nowhere to hide in the season's final Classic as the winner's stablemate Buthelezi set a fierce gallop - too quick even for Blue Bunting's pacemaker Rumh - which helped contribute to a new course record of 3m 00.44secs.
The pace was too much for some even at an early stage with Brown Panther niggled along by Kieren Fallon and Blue Bunting and Genius Beast flat out under their riders.
Swinging into the straight and into a strong headwind, the plot thickened and heading for the last quarter mile Seville and Joesph O'Brien went for glory.
William Buick celebrates a second St Leger victory on Masked MarvelPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
However, he could not shake off his rivals, especially the strong-travelling Masked Marvel, who took the lead from the Irish raider inside the final two furlongs.
Masked Marvel went clear at the furlong pole but staying on behind was Brown Panther, who had looked in some trouble earlier in the race.
Fallon was throwing all he hadat Michael Owen's runner, who had been backed into 15-2 from 14 shortly before the off, but it was not enough while favourite Sea Moon also stayed on well in the closing yards without ever mounting a serious challenge.
Buick, who landed his first Classic on Arctic Cosmos last season, said: "It was a really good performance today, he really quickened well. We knew he stayedand I waited with him and when I went two and a half furlongs out he killed everything. He's an improving horse and mile and a half races can't be ruled out."
Gosden added: "He's got a high cruising speed, I told William to settle where he was happy and not attack too soon. He's a proper horse who has worked quite beautifully and I would have been shocked if he wasn't in the first three."
Michael Owen, owner-breeder of Brown Panther, said: "Royal Ascot was unbelievable but this certainly compares. Kieren said he wasn't letting himself down so he probably wants more cut. We've got a lovely horse for next year."
Sea Moon was unable to make it three wins from three this season but connections are looking to the future.
John Gosden smiles after saddling his fourth winner of the St LegerPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "Things didn't go particularly well and he wanted to push the button he couldn't get out. It's disappointing but this is far from theend of the road."
Simon Crisford, racing manager to Godolphin, owners of Blue Bunting, said: "That was maybe one dance too many. York left its mark on Rewilding last year and maybe it was the same story here. We'll freshen her up and see if she can run in the Pride Stakes [at Ascot on Champions Day]."
Aidan O'Brien thought the trip was too far for Seville, who finished fourth and pulled off a shoe, while Harry Herbert thought the ground was too quick for Census.
"He ran a terrific race but the ground defeated him," Herbert, managing director of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing said. "[Richard Hughes] said it was too quick and that the horse wasn't letting himself down. All credit to Masked Marvel but we know we should have finished closer. That's probably it for this year."