Two Godolphin stars set to be toasted on Leger day
Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby are hopeful of maintaining Godolphin's excellent record in Doncaster's G2 Champagne Stakes by each sending a well-credentialed runner to Saturday's latest renewal on Town Moor.
Between the two Godolphin trainers, they have won four of the last seven editions of the Champagne, which is often a pointer to a potential G1 star, though not necessarily a 2,000 Guineas winner.
The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Rodrigo de Triano (1991) was the last Champagne winner to enjoy success in a Classic on Newmarket's Rowley Mile.
Saeed, who trained Poet's Voice (2009) and Saamid (2010) to win the race, this time relies on Thunder Snow, who he predicts will improve on his last start second in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
"He ran well last time, and he has been working well since," Saeed said. "So far, I am very happy with him, and I am looking for him to step up again in the Champagne, though he won't want much rain," he added.
James Doyle takes the ride on Thunder Snow, while William Buick is booked for the Appleby-trained D'bai, who won a maiden at Newmarket on July 23.
Appleby, who won the Champagne with Outstrip (2013) and Emotionless (2015), said: "D'bai is a nice progressive horse, who has run well in both his starts, winning most recently at Newmarket.
"It was quick ground for both those races, and he has given me every indication at home that he would be better suited to soft conditions, so any rain would be welcome," he added.
On St Leger day, the other big interest for Godophin is the reappearance of Richard Pankhurst and Toormore in the G2 Park Stakes, over seven furlongs.
Richard Pankhurst won the G2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on his most recent outing and shapes as a seven-furlong specialist.
Toormore, who won over one mile at Sandown in April, last ran in a seven-furlong contest at Longchamp in October last year. He finished third to Make Believe and Limato in the G1 Prix de la Foret.