Saint Lawrence thrilling connections with recent progress

Saint Lawrence will attempt to continue on his upward curve in Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup next month, with connections keen to praise Archie Watson’s influence since taking over training duties.

The five-year-old has been at the peak of his powers since switching to Watson earlier in the season and having won the Wokingham at Royal Ascot on stable debut, proved he could be a force in the leading sprint events with a near-miss in Deauville’s Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Although beaten half a length in third, things could have been different for Saint Lawrence granted a smoother passage in the contest, but the performance was enough to convince connections to continue campaigning the speedster in Group One company, with a trip to Merseyside on September 9 up next.

“He was probably a bit unlucky in the run,” said David Hilton, stud manager at owner John Deer’s Oakgrove Stud.

“The first and second probably got first run and he’s just had to wait and then he’s made up ground in the final furlong on ground which is probably not ideal for him, it was very tacky and holding ground.

“There will be stronger Group Ones but at the same time that might just suit him. They didn’t go that quick, probably sensibly on that ground, but his likely next target is going to be the Haydock Sprint Cup where they are bound to go very fast.”

Saint Lawrence is a son of owner Deer’s popular multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem, who last year was one of the leading British sires of three-year-olds in terms of winners to runners percentage.

However, even though Saint Lawrence’s achievements further highlight Al Kazeem’s impact in the breeding sheds, it is Watson’s handling of the resurgent sprinter that has been the catalyst for the gelding taking his form to a new level.

“It’s all credit to Archie and his team really,” continued Hilton. “They have found improvement in the horse and John and the Deer family are delighted, especially with the horse being by Al Kazeem. It’s very exciting.

“I think what Archie has done with him in a short space of time is astonishing really. He has run two lifetime bests in a row and he’s still improving. Both of those races since Archie has had him, he’s really tanked through the race and it’s possible we are maybe still learning about him and just scratching the surface.

“He does have some really good form as a young horse and then had a few problems mid-season as a three-year-old which probably led to the horse losing a bit of confidence.

“We decided as a team after his second run this year that a change of scenery was probably the right thing to do and Archie was probably the obvious choice given his track record of improving horses and also there is probably no better trainer of sprinters in the country at the minute. He has a fantastic record and a team going places.”

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