Preview Of Newmarket’s Bahrain Trophy On Thursday: First Eleven To Lay Down St Leger Claims At Newmarket

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First Eleven – 9-2 with Sky Bet. 1.50pm Newmarket Thursday 12th July.

With four St Leger’s already to his name Newmarket trainer John Gosden will be hoping to make it number five in the world’s oldest Classic this September. Thursday’s Bahrain Trophy Stakes at headquarters is one of the most significant trials for the historic race which dates back to 1776 and Gosden is responsible for three of the sixteen horses entered for the 1m 5f contest, the best of which could be the Frankel colt First Eleven. 

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Only one second placing from three starts as a juvenile doesn’t look the form of a potential Group 1 horse but with that experience under his belt and stepping up in trip First Eleven has the potential to leave last season’s efforts well behind as a three-year-old. Making his reappearance in a Salisbury handicap in April the mount of Robert Havlin got bogged down on the heavy ground when finishing a well beaten second of four but left that run well behind on his next start at Newbury.

Sent off an 8-1 chance off a mark of 77 against seven rivals in the 1m 3f handicap First Eleven proved a different proposition on the good to firm ground, storming home by five lengths from the favourite King’s Protector. A trip to Royal Ascot came next off a revised rating of 91 in the King George V Stakes and, in the hands of Frankie Dettori, the colt looked one of the most unlucky losers of the royal meeting finishing a narrow third despite meeting all sorts of trouble in running.

While there is a gulf between going close in a valuable Royal Ascot handicap and winning a Classic First Eleven can take another step up the ladder by taking Thursday’s Group 3 contest prior to a trip to Doncaster in two months time. The Aidan O’Brien pair of Southern France and Giuseppe Garibaldi along with stablemate Raa Atoll will ensure that the selection does not have things all his own way in what could prove an informative St Leger trial.

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