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Four reasons Hartnell can serve it up to his St Leger foes

| 09.09.2014

Kingston Hill is 5/2 favourite to win the Ladbrokes St Leger at the five-day declaration stage, but question marks over his stamina remain, as they do for many of his opponents.

Along with the likes of Snow Sky (5/1) and Romsdal (6/1), he is unproven beyond 1m4f.

The same cannot be said of Mark Johnston’s Hartnell, who is currently fifth in in the betting and worthy of further inspection at a healthy 14/1.

Here’s why…

The Derby and Great Voltigeur form has an unsatisfactory feel

Kingston Hill and Romsdal both represent the Epsom classic at Doncaster, but neither has turned in a particularly impressive run in the aftermath.

Little was learned from the former over 1m2f at Sandown, while the latter bombed in the King George at Ascot and his well-being has to be taken on trust.

Meanwhile Snow Sky came home well ahead of Hartnell, and just about everyone else bar winner Postponed, in York’s Voltigeur.

However, with fellow Leger entrants Marzocco and Granddukeoftuscany similarly in arrears and the winner considered very much the 1m4f practitioner by winning trainer Luca Cumani, the suspicion endures that the race was run to suit speedier types.

Johnston hasn’t had a St Leger runner since Corsica finished third at 40/1 in 2010

Despite a reputation for being able for fitness and durability in his string that’s second to none, the Middleham handler seldom readies a runner in the world’s oldest classic.

His last entrant showed that his charges should be underestimated at punters’ peril, and followed a very similar route to Town Moor, finishing fifth in the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot before winning the Bahrain Trophy.

Hartnell has already scored over 2m in the Queens Vase

Like last year’s winner Leading Light, the Johnston colt has already proven the Leger’s trip of just under 1m7f falls well within his capabilities.

All three Bahrain Trophy winners to run in the Leger in the last decade have at least placed

Like his trainer’s previous runner at the season’s closing Classic, Hartnell took the laurels in Newmarket’s 1m5f trial, besting the re-opposing Windshear in the process.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Thomas Reynolds