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St Leger the obvious port of call for Irish Oaks winner Covert Love

| 20.07.2015

When Hugo Palmer convinced the Fomo Syndicate to part with €40,000 to supplement their filly Covert Love for the Irish Oaks, it could have been a catastrophic gamble.

The fee was almost exactly what their daughter of Azamour had earned in her short career so far and with the three-year-old the only equine athlete on the ownership’s roster it could well have been back to square one had it gone belly-up.

But in going from the front, and staying there, despite Palmer “just waiting for those coming from behind to get here”, the 7/1 shot fully justified connections’ confidence and enthusiasm with a hefty £180k return.

That win at the Curragh certainly opens up options for her handler, who was enjoying a first success in a Classic, with another big one potentially on the agenda.

While she would have to be supplemented for a crack at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, she could yet be entered in the Ladbrokes St Leger in September, for which she is a 10/1 chance.

It may be 30 years since the late Sir Henry Cecil’s Oh So Sharp did it for the girls and ensured a filly took the oldest Classic, but they have been going well in recent years.

On the face of it, the fact that four of the 11 fillies to take part since 2000 managed to make the places doesn’t look all that impressive.

But when you consider that only five of them had won either the Epsom or Irish Oaks and things get slightly more interesting.

Three of those five Classic winning fillies made the frame, the latest Talent finding only Leading Light too good in 2013.

The great Snow Fairy (fourth) and Blue Bunting (sixth) were the only Epsom of Curragh-winning fillies not to reward each-way backers at Doncaster since the turn of the century.

A 3lb weight advantage will certainly help Covert Love should she line up on September 25, but her trainer has also stated that the ground would have to be no better than good.

She will also need that the step up in trip, one that her breeding suggests she will struggle with, to bring out more if she takes her chance, but with the record of Classic winning fillies making the frame, you couldn’t blame connections for aiming high with their superstar.

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

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.