Trainer Aidan O’Brien has confirmed last year’s $3 million Keeneland September Sale topper, Mendelssohn, for Saturday’s Champagne (G2) on the St Leger (G1) undercard at Doncaster. A half-brother to four-time champion Beholder and Grade 1-winning sire Into Mischief, the promising juvenile won second time out at the Curragh.
By the late Scat Daddy, Mendelssohn wasn’t expected to jump straight into Group 2 company off his maiden score. O’Brien had emphasized how babyish the May 17-foaled colt is, but perhaps the proverbial light bulb has now come on at home.
Mendelssohn broke his maiden over a mile, and now cuts back to seven furlongs for his stakes debut. Despite the fact that jockey Ryan Moore has stuck with him, Mendelssohn is getting only tepid support in the market, his price hovering around 8-1.
Stablemate Seahenge, with the trainer’s son Donnacha aboard, is the lesser fancied of the Ballydoyle pair. Another son of Scat Daddy purchased at Keeneland September, the $750,000 yearling scored a debut win at Naas but finished a well-beaten fifth in the Vintage (G2) at Glorious Goodwood.
Rival empire Godolphin sends out early favorite Mythical Magic, unbeaten from two starts for trainer Charlie Appleby. The Iffraaj half-brother to Group 3 scorer Esentepe won first up at Ascot, then added the Prix Francois Boutin at Deauville.
Dream Today, a full brother to recent Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) hero Al Wukair, captured the lucrative Convivial Maiden in his unveiling at York. The Mark Johnston pupil is vying for second favoritism with Red Mist, a Frankel colt from the Simon Crisford yard who just missed to Hey Gaman in the Washington Singer. Hey Gaman had the advantage of racing experience that day, entering as a two-time winner and an also-ran in Royal Ascot’s Chesham and Newmarket’s July S. (G2).
Grand Koonta, last seen finishing eighth in the July, and twice-raced maiden Island Sound complete the field of eight.