Stoute eyes Leger after Crystal Ocean gives him perfect ten
It took a quarter of a century before Sir Michael Stoute could consummate his relationship with the William Hill St Leger and complete his haul of every British Classic.
Conduit was the colt who, in 2008, ended a pursuit that had begun with Abide With Me in 1974, having won Goodwood's Gordon Stakes.
On Saturday, after securing his tenth victory in the Group 3 Gordon with Crystal Ocean, Stoute said he was ready to consider having "a one-off fling" at Britain's oldest Classic with the colt, as he did with Conduit, who went on to win the Breeders' Cup Turf twice and the King George.
Crystal Ocean had run a race full of promise to finish third in York's Dante Stakes in May, only for his astute handler to rule he would not be ready for the Derby.
And he looked much better equipped for the challenge of the 1m6f Doncaster Classic at Goodwood, pulling right away from Khalidi to win the Gordon by three and a half lengths under Ryan Moore.
Stoute said: "We've loved him from early days. He's a lovely stamp of horse with a good mind.
Handled bad ground well
"He goes on soft ground – we knew that because he did in the Dante – but I was concerned about this ground because this is the worst they will ever get, with that phenomenal rain. But he's gone and handled it really well. He's a good athlete and that helps.
"I said before the Dante that I didn't consider him to be a Derby horse. You've got to be more mature than that at Epsom."
The Sir Evelyn de Rothschild-owned winner was cut to between 4-1 and 6-1 (from 14 generally) for the St Leger – with only Capri and Stradivarius narrowly ahead of him in the betting – and was ruled out of York's Great Voltigeur by Stoute.
"We'll look at the Leger," the trainer said. "I've mentioned it to Evelyn in the past. I wouldn't say definitely, but we'll consider it. He's pretty good at this trip.
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE'S GORDON WINNERS
2014 Snow Sky
2017 Crystal Ocean
"We may do a Conduit and have a one-off fling, but it would be nice to discuss it with the man who pays the bills."
Khalidi was unsuited by the going but looks set to join Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius in the John Gosden team at Doncaster.
The trainer's son Thady said: "The ground was plenty soft enough for him. He'll be freshened up and we'll go for the St Leger."
Ralph Beckett, trainer of third placed Mount Moriah, said: "He wants further. This is on the sharp side for him so he's run very credibly."
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