Ryan Moore lands elusive missing Classic as Capri wins thrilling St Leger at Doncaster
Jockey Ryan Moore steered the Irish Derby winner Capri to a thrilling victory in the St Leger at Doncaster.
The race favourite, trained by Aidan O’Brien, got the better of runner-up Crystal Ocean and third-placed Stradivarius earning Moore his first success in the world’s oldest Classic to complete his set of victories in the British Classics.
The starting field of 11 runners, which saw four entries saddled by O’Brien, was suggested to be one of the best renewals in recent years, and once underway the race itself lived up to expectations.
Having endured no luck in seven previous rides in the race, Moore was set up perfectly for Capri after stablemate and outsider The Anvil, set a useful early pace in the for the contest over a mile and six-furlongs. Stradivarius, under James Doyle for four-time winning trainer John Gosden, took the lead with four furlongs to go whilst Crystal Ocean also mounted a challenge.
However the grey Capri had enough left in the tank to see off his rivals and took the honours after a battle down the straight by half a length from Crystal Ocean, with Stradivarius only a short head’s distance back in third.
Speaking afterwards, Moore said “He’s a very good horse, he’s an Irish Derby winner and a Group 2-winning two-year-old as well. He’s run in a lot of good races this year, he’s a very good horse and very honest.
“It was a good Leger and the first three home are horses that are very good. I think it was a very classy performance and the form will stand up well from this.”
Whilst success for Moore was his first in the race after previous wins in the 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas, the Derby and the Oaks, for O’Brien it was his fifth St Leger victory and an eighth win in 10 British and Irish Classics this season.
O’Brien was also celebrating in the race before as Seahenge took out the Group 2 Champagne Stakes.
Victory came thanks in part to a great ride from Donnacha O’Brien as Seahenge overhauled the front-running Hey Gaman to win by a neck’s distance, with race favourite Mythical Magic close behind in third.
Hey Gaman had led the four racing nearer the stands’ rail as O’Brien settled Seahenge to the back of the field behind his stablemate Mendelssohn under Ryan Moore.
The whole complexity of the race changed dramatically in the final two furlongs as Mendelssohn dropped away to eventually finish last, in contrast to Seahenge who burst the field and threw down a strong challenge. With a furlong to run Hey Gaman and Mythical Magic were still very much in contention but both simply could not fend off the fast finish of Seahenge.