09/08/2011 4:52PM

St. Leger: Sea Moon has tough rival in Blue Bunting


The Godolphin-owned filly Blue Bunting seeks her third straight Group 1 victory and fourth of the year on Saturday at Doncaster in England, but has a formidable foe in the Michael Stoute-trained Sea Moon, who is widely favored to win the St. Leger Stakes.

The St. Leger, restricted to 3-year-olds and contested over slightly more than 1 3/4 miles, was left with a field of nine after final declarations were announced Thursday. Besides Blue Bunting and Sea Moon, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Seville should take some measure of betting support. Seville, however, was left far behind Sea Moon when the Juddmonte colt romped to an eight-length victory in his most recent start, the Great Voltigeur Stakes on Aug. 17 at York. That was the second straight eight-length tally for Sea Moon, a son of Beat Hollow who has been conservatively campaigned by Stoute and Juddmonte, with just two starts last year and two more in 2011.

Sea Moon is likely to stay the trip and figures tough to beat, though Blue Bunting is an admirable sort herself. She was a somewhat surprising winner of the English 1000 Guineas over a one-mile trip thought to be shorter than her best, and after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Oaks at Epsom, she rebounded to win the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks in her two subsequent starts for trainer Mahmood al Zarooni.