09/11/2002 11:00PM

Bandari vulnerable in St. Leger


Bandari faces a three-pronged attack from Michael Stoute trainees in Saturday's St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster, England, where 10 are expected to line up for the one-mile, six-furlong, 132-yard Group 1 classic.

A son of Alhaarth trained by Mark Johnston, Bandari was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed after his 13-length victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial in May. He has won both of the major St. Leger preps, the Gordon Stakes and the Great Voltigeur Stakes. His winning margin in those 1 1/2-mile contests, however, shrunk from seven lengths to a head, suggesting that he may be vulnerable at the St. Leger's longer distance.

Stoute, still seeking his first St. Leger triumph, will saddle Balakheri, who won the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes and ran fifth in the Irish Derby; Gordon Stakes runner-up First Charter; and Highest, the one who nearly beat Bandari in the Great Voltigeur.

Mamool and Mr Dinos, one-two in the two-mile Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, will not be intimidated by the distance, but Bandari, who will be ridden by Richard Hills, may have just enough class to withstand all challenges.

On the same afternoon at The Curragh, Vinnie Roe holds all the aces as he seeks a repeat win over Millenary in the 1 3/4-mile Group 1 Irish St. Leger. A son of Definite Article trained by Dermot Weld, he has won six of his last seven starts and is perhaps the best stayer in the world. He is using this as a prep for the Melbourne Cup, a race Weld won with Vintage Crop in 1993.