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The William Hill St Leger Stakes

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History

The St Leger is the final Classic of the British Flat season, the longest in distance and the oldest in years. Open to three-year-old colts and fillies and staged in September at Doncaster over 1 mile 6 furlongs and 132 yards (2,920 metres), the race began life in 1776. The event was thought up by Anthony St. Leger, an army officer and politician living near Doncaster. It was originally run over two miles, with colts carrying 8st, and fillies 7st 12lb.

The St Leger is the final leg of the English Triple Crown, following the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the Investec Derby. It also completes the Fillies’ Triple Crown, which begins with the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and the Investec Oaks.

Camelot was the most recent horse to head to Doncaster following victories in the Newmarket and Epsom Classics in 2012 but the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt could only finish second to Encke, who provided Godolphin with a sixth success in the race. O’Brien gained some consolation in 2013 when he won the race for the fourth time courtesy of Leading Light.

One of the best recent winners was Conduit in 2007, for trainer Sir Michael Stoute (his first St Leger victory, completing his full house of English classic races).  In his next start Conduit was triumphant in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the USA and the following year he won that race again, preceded by a famous victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1995-6, 2005-6, 2008)
Current leading trainer: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1995, 1998-9, 2004, 2009)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Moore the merrier after driving Capri to victory

Ryan Moore completed the full set of British Classics as the tenacious Capri dug deep for him to land the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.

Moore and the Aidan O’Brien-trained grey proved an unbeatable combination in a stirring finish to the £700,000 QIPCO British Champions Series contest – the pair repelling the persistent challenges of Crystal Ocean and Stradivarius.

The son of Galileo became the first horse since Triple Crown hero Nijinsky in 1970 to win the Irish Derby and the St Leger, in his first race since his success at the Curragh 11 weeks earlier.

John Gosden’s Stradivarius looked a real threat on the far rail, but Capri, the 3-1 favourite, was already close to the pace and set sail for home inside the final quarter-mile.

Crystal Ocean, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, made a strong run from the rear, but Capri would not be denied and scored by half a length, with Stradivarius just a short head away in third.

“When Crystal Ocean came to him, he dug in,” Moore said. “He’s done very little wrong in his career and has progressed from race to race. It was a really hard race, but he didn’t look like a horse who’d had a hard race. I just feel it was a very good Leger – in normal years the first three would be worthy winners.”

On winning the race for the first time, he swiftly replied: “It means you have to win it again, really.”

O’Brien, winning his fifth Leger, said: “We were all delighted with him. He had a little blip at York time (when he missed the Great Voltigeur). We were a little worried coming here, but Ryan gave him a class ride.

“We knew if we set a good pace for everyone we’d find out who the best horse was in the straight. He’s a horse with a lot of class, which we saw in the Irish Derby. When Ryan wanted it, he gave it to him.

“Seamus (Heffernan) rides him a lot at home and has always been a big believer in him. He always said he had class and that he would stay.”

As for future plans, he said “The lads (Coolmore) will decide what they want to do – run him again or put him away. He’s probably a mile-and-a-half horse with class, so he’d have no problem going a mile and a quarter.

“He has a great cruising speed and we always thought he had courage and stamina as well as class.”

Stoute said of Crystal Ocean: “I’d prefer to have won it, but he ran a great race, we’re thrilled with him. I thought he was going to win, but we won’t run him beyond a mile and a half again. It was always a danger that he was a mile-and-a-half horse and that’s his trip.

“Jim (Crowley) gave him a lovely ride and I always felt he might win. Jim reported he was always pretty confident, but he was just outstayed.”

Gosden has Champions Day at Ascot on October 21 in mind for his runners. “He (Stradivarius) has run a cracker. It was a relentless pace, very strong and there was no hiding place.

“If he comes out of it well he will go to Ascot for the stayers’ race (the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup). Coronet has run a lovely race (fifth) and she will go to Champions Day for the Fillies’ & Mares’ race.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

Doncaster’s local authorities tried to ban horseracing a few years ago – well, 400 years ago, to be exact – because of the hordes of ruffians that the races attracted.

Eventually, they gave up, marking out a racecourse instead. The result? One of the country’s biggest horseracing centres and the home of two of the world’s oldest races, the Doncaster Cup and the Ladbrokes St Leger. Both feature in the QIPCO British Champions Series

The south Yorkshire venue, also known as Town Moor, is a left-handed, pear-shaped track, with courses for both Flat and Jump racing. A £34 million facelift, concluding in 2007, transformed it into one of the most modern in Europe. As for Doncaster’s ruffians, they’ve moved on, replaced by real horse connoisseurs. When the venue staged Britain’s first Sunday race meeting in 1992, 23,000 people turned up… even though betting was not allowed on the Sabbath.

Find out about racing at Doncaster

Getting there

Doncaster Racecourse,
The Grandstand,
Leger Way,
Doncaster,
DN2 6BB

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View fixtures

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