We already have a live ante-post market, for the 2017 St Leger Stakes at Doncaster. The likes of Shakeel, Rekindling, Crystal Ocean and Stradivarius have all been attracting market-support, as has Aidan O’Brien’s Capri. The grey Galileo-sired colt was last seen at The Curragh, in early July, where he beat Cracksman by a neck in the Irish Derby.
This is a G1 encounter, over a distance of 1m 6f. It is the last of the 5 English Classic races and it is also the oldest having first been run in 1776. Few owners attempt to win the Triple Crown, anymore. The St Leger is the 3rd leg, the other two being the 1000/2000 Guineas and the Derby/Oaks.
Anthony St Leger lived close to Doncaster. He had two successful careers – one in the army and the other in politics. He devised the race and set the original purse at 25 guineas. The race was slightly longer, back in the 18th century, at 2 miles.
The winner of the first race was a filly that had not been named. Needless to say, the horse was soon given a name (Allabaculia) after this famous victory!
It is only down to the humility of the then Marquess of Rockingham, that the race does not have a completely different title. While honoured that it was put to him that the race should take his name, he insisted that it was St Leger who the race should be named after and he got his wish.
Like many of the great races, the St Leger Stakes was interrupted by the two world wars. There have been more recent occasions where it was not possible to hold the race at Doncaster. Firstly, in 1989, due to subsidence at the course, and then in 2006, while Doncaster Racecourse was undergoing a major rebuilding period.
Champion The Wonder Horse
The first time that a horse won both the Derby and the St Leger, in the same year, was in the year 1800. The horse was called Champion. The historic double was bettered by another horse in 1853. West Australian became the first racehorse to win the coveted Triple Crown.
Records & Famous Winners
The most successful jockeys, trainers and owners all set their records a very long time ago, in the St Leger. Bill Scott is the leading jockey, having ridden horses to victory nine times. John Scott, enjoyed 16 wins as a trainer, while the most successful owner was Archibald Hamilton, with seven wins.
Notable post-war winners include Provoke, Nijinsky, Bustino, Oh So Sharp, Reference Point, Bob’s Return, Lucarno, Kingston Hill and the 2016 champion, Harbour Law.
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