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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 a year later 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, 6 wins (1995-6, 2005-6, 2008, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 6 wins (2001, 2003, 2005, 2013, 2017, 2018)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

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

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Unbeaten Logician proves class apart under rampant Dettori

Logician preserved his unbeaten record with a stunning victory in the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori – who was winning the world’s oldest Classic for the sixth time – the John Gosden-trained son of Frankel was sent off the red-hot 5-6 favourite, following his most recent victory in the Great Voltigeur at York.

That win on the Knavesmire last month had come on the back of success in a Newbury handicap, and the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt duly took this step up to the highest level with aplomb.

Nestled towards the rear through the early stages, Dettori took his time before moving sweetly down the Town Moor straight and sweeping to the front when he asked the grey to quicken a fair way out.

Sir Dragonet briefly threatened to make a race of it. But in the end there was only one horse in it, with Dettori able to ease up close home for a two-and-a-quarter length success from Sir Ron Priestley, who ran a big race for Mark Johnston in the hands of Franny Norton.

It was another head back in third to Nayef Road, also trained by Johnston.

Dettori was enjoying a thirteenth win in a QIPCO British Champions Series race this year – passing the record 12 that Ryan Moore achieved in 2017.

Recording his fifth Leger victory, Gosden said: “He took Frankie on early, you could see Frankie’s hands were higher than usual, but he eventually relaxed well.

“He stayed the trip well, which is always a worry, and the fast ground rather than it being testing probably helped him stay the trip and he’s won in a record time with one flick of the stick.

“He’s a mile-and-a-half horse really, but this is a Classic and Prince Khalid was keen because he breeds these lovely horses and wanted to win a Classic for Frankel – we’ve won him two now as we also won the Oaks for him (with Anapurna).

“The way he quickened with just one flick – he’s a gorgeous horse. I think he’d be better on good ground, rather than good to firm.

“He’ll probably revert to a mile and a half next year. He’s done so much so quickly this year that we’ll put him away now, he won’t run again this season.

“He was held back for some time and I was diligent with him, having not done a lot at two. He’s come a long way in a short period of time.”

Dettori was recording his 15th Group One victory of the year and said: “The St Leger has been very lucky for me. That’s probably my easiest one (Leger success) – he’s a serious horse.

“I heard the roar, but we get it about five seconds later, so I’d nearly won by then! But it’s brilliant, there’s nearly 30,000 here, he was the hot favourite so hopefully they’ve lumped on.

“It’s been a great year, thankfully I ride for a great trainer who has lots of good horses in good races. We’ve won two Classics this year and we’ll enjoy this moment before we get ready for the Arc in three weeks’ time (with Enable).”

He added: “John has always been keen on him and I should have known when he made me go to Newbury one evening to ride him in a handicap – I thought it was strange.

“He showed in the Voltigeur he was a good horse and there’s plenty more to come next year.

“There were no problems today, maybe at the start when he jumped so good and took me on a little bit, but from over two out I knew I’d won.”

Results

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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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@ChampionsSeries

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@ianmsyme Undoubtedly one of our favourite fillies but she didn't manage to record a Series victory this year!