ST LEGER clues were always going to be forthcoming at Glorious Goodwood.
And it may well be that this year’s winner was actually a beaten favourite yesterday.
The second day of Glorious Goodwood was all about the ‘Duel On The Downs’ and a thrilling battle between Tornado and Dawn Approach in which the former exacted his revenge.
But 35 minutes earlier came the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes in which the first two home - Excess Knowledge and Cap O’Rushes - are now big players for the Doncaster September Classic.
Word from Newmarket was that the John Gosden-trained Excess Knowledge was fancied to collect yesterday after a promising staying on third in a Listed race at Sandown in July.
Yet once again the post came too soon for Excess Knowledge who was beaten a head by Godolphin’s Cap O’Rushes.
The latter subsequently entered the Leger picture as a result of his victory with the Charlie Appleby-trained runner now a 20-1 shot to land the final Classic of the season.
Yet runner-up Excess Knowledge is now 10-1 for the Leger and as short as 7-1 in places and that tells you all you need to know.
Excess Knowledge basically looked unlucky yesterday as the Gosden horse twice suffered interference in his bid to overhaul the leaders.
In the end, William Buick’s mount missed out by a quickly diminishing margin of a head and with a clear passage he would surely have won.
And probably even more important is that Excess Knowledge’s running style strongly suggests he will blossom further going up two more furlongs in distance which is exactly what he’ll get in the Leger.
It was suggested on last week’s Horses For Courses page that the current market leader for the Doncaster Classic, Galileo Rock, could be vulnerable to something less exposed that’s about to burst on the scene.
Aidan O’Brien’s second favourite and Queen’s Vase winner Leading Light appealed as the type of horse capable of doing just that and still does.
But so too now does Excess Knowledge whose trainer Gosden has already scooped the famous race four times in his impressive career.
The Newmarket handler admitted yesterday that it was likely now a case of all systems go regards a Leger bid.
“The Leger must be on his agenda and we’ll see where we go from here,” he said.
“Arctic Cosmos got beaten here and then won at Doncaster and we could go straight there or look at the Great Voltigeur.
“This race was a good Leger trial but there was no pace.”
Appleby is also eyeing the same plan with Cap O’Rushes.
“We’ll take it one step at a time with him but the plan would be the Great Voltigeur and then the St Leger,” said the trainer who would be bidding to give Godolphin their seventh Leger.
Based on yesterday’s evidence, it may be a man seeking his fifth St Leger in Gosden who causes them most problems.
The Newmarket handler has a fine knowledge of how to land the race - and a likely candidate in Excess Knowledge bidding to give him win number five.