It was an opening day of the St Leger festival to forget for Jim Crowley as not only was he taken to hospital following a fall in the first race at Doncaster, he also missed three subsequent winners.
Thankfully Crowley escaped serious injury in a nasty incident in the closing stages of the Take The Reins Nursery Handicap when Jadhlaan came down on crossing the line.
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan provided an update on Crowley, who went to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Duncan added: “He was conscious and stood up walking, but he was very sore.”
Later in the afternoon Richard Hills, assistant racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate, had further good news.
“I just spoke to Jim. He’s missing all the winners. But he’s had an MRI scan, and that’s clear. He won’t ride tomorrow, but he’s OK,” said Hills.
Jadhlaan’s fall sadly proved fatal and Crowley was initially out of action for race two, which saw the very promising Israr come out on top in a battle of well-regarded newcomers in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.
A son of John Gosden’s Oaks and King George winner Taghrooda and champion sprinter Muhaarar, the youngster was nevertheless sent off at 8-1 behind favourite and stablemate Frantastic, himself a full-brother to Cracksman.
Drawn on the wing in stall 10, Israr lost ground by jinking right at the start, but was soon back on an even keel and with Frantastic off the bridle with two furlongs to run, he moved stylishly into contention.
Despite looking green Frantastic made a pleasing debut, running on into third, but for Israr it was the perfect start, beating the outsider Savvy Victory by half a length.
Crowley was replaced by Robert Havlin who said: “It’s nice to ride a winner, but never nice in those circumstances.
“The doctor said he (Crowley) got up OK, but was feeling a bit of pain high in his back so they took him to get checked over.”
On the winner, who was given a 25-1 quote by Paddy Power and Betfair for the Derby, Havlin added: “He’s very laid-back. He’s like family – Taghrooda was very laid-back.
“We were going slow (early), and he wasn’t really taking the bit. So I sat closer then.
“He was just racing a little bit babyish – but when I gave him a squeeze, he was all there for me and finished out well.
“He picked up well. He’s from a mile-and-a-half family, but he’s a bit quicker.
“You can see he’s smaller and stockier and stronger than the others. He’s nice, and we hope he’s got a bright future.
“I love his mindset.”
Thady Gosden trains Israr with his father and said of their runners: “I was very happy with both of them.
“Obviously it was first time out for both, so there’s that lack of experience.
“I was very happy with the third there (too). He ran on nicely, got the hang of things late on.
“I’m very happy with the winner. They’re both exceptionally well-bred.”
Crowley would also have been aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, who ran out a clear-cut victor in the Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes as the 5-4 favourite.
He was ridden by William Buick, who again deputised for Crowley in the I Love Julie Parkes Handicap which was won by Owen Burrows’ Anmaat (11-4).