09/09/2010 11:57AM

Rewilding looks tough to beat in St. Leger

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Rewilding looks difficult to beat in the 234th running of the $775,000 St. Leger Stakes, at 1 3/4 miles, 132 yards, the world’s longest- and oldest- classic, at Doncaster on Saturday. A half-brother to Dar Re Mi owned by Godolphin Racing, Rewilding was the impressive four-length winner of the key St. Leger prep, the 1 1/2-mile Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on Aug. 17, and race sponsor Ladbrokes have installed him as its 11-8 favorite.

The Godolphin team certainly knows its way around Doncaster. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has won the St. Leger five times, most recently with Mastery last year, while rider Frankie Dettori has won it four times, most notably aboard Scorpion for Godolphin’s arch-rivals at Coolmore. Rewilding’s Great Voltigeur score was his first outing since he finished third in the Epsom Derby on June 5, so he may be sitting on a big race.

The filly Snow Fairy looms a major threat. The Ed Dunlop-trained winner of both the English and Irish Oaks, Snow Fairy was a solid second behind Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Midday in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks on Aug. 19. Fillies have won the St. Leger 40 times, far more than they have won any other classic, so she must stand a good chance with Eddie Ahern riding.

Dandino and Arctic Cosmos are two of Ladbrokes’s three co-second favorites at 7-1, but they were only second and third last time in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Gordon Stakes. Also at 7-1 is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Midas Touch, the Great Voltigeur runner-up who was just a half-length second to stablemate Cape Blanco in the Irish Derby. Midas Touch looks dangerous with Colm O’Donoghue aboard. Equally threatening is the O’Brien-trained Joshua Tree. The winner last fall of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, Joshua Tree returned from an 11-month layoff to be third behind Rewilding and Midas Touch in the Great Voltigeur.

Approve, winner of two Group 2’s, the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and the six-furlong Gimcrack Stakes at York, is the most accomplished 2-year-old in the Group 2, $155,000 Champagne Stakes, but a mile might be too long for the Oasis Dream colt. The preference is for another son of Oasis Dream, Waiter’s Dream, who won York’s seven-furlong, Group 3 Acomb Stakes by 4 1/2 widening lengths last time. Saamidd, the 7 1/2-length winner of his seven-furlong maiden debut at Newbury, is eligible to improve.

◗ Eastern Aria came again along the rail to get the best of Rumoush in Thursday’s Group 2, $155,000 Park Hill Stakes, at 1 3/4 miles, 132 yards sometimes referred to as the fillies’ St. Leger. Given a gutsy ride by Dettori, the 5-1 Mark Johnston-trained 4-year-old Eastern Aria prevailed by a length in winning her third straight as the 2-1 favorite Meeznah finished third. The winning time was 3:02 flat.