Tag Archive for: St Leger Festival

Attentions switch to next year now with Arrest

Arrest is set to be put away until next season after filling the runner-up spot in his bid to provide Frankie Dettori with one final Classic success in the Betfred St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

Having put Derby and Royal Ascot disappointment behind him with victory in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last month, the Frankel colt was the Italian’s chosen mount as he looked to secure a seventh victory in the Town Moor showpiece.

While the impressive Continuous was too good on the day, Arrest stuck to his task to finish best of the rest and connections are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve as a four-year-old.

Arrest (left) lost little in defeat
Arrest (left) lost little in defeat (Tim Goode/PA)

Barry Mahon, racing manager for owners Juddmonte, said: “I was delighted and thought he ran a great race. I was more disappointed for Frankie than anything because it would have been lovely for him to have a fairytale ending in the last Classic of the year, but it wasn’t to be.

“The horse ran a brilliant race and Frankie was very complimentary about him afterwards and said what a good horse he thinks he’ll be next year. I think we’ve plenty to look forward to with him.

“I think that seemed to be the consensus with John and Thady (Gosden) and Frankie after the race, that we’d put him away for the year now and he’ll be a nice horse next year.

“He still has a lot of strengthening to do – he’s a tall, lean horse and he’ll strengthen up from three to four. We’ll look forward to the spring next year.

“We know he likes to get his toe in a little bit and once there’s a little bit of juice in the ground he’ll compete in all those big mile-and-a-half races next year.”

Westover is all set for another tilt at the Arc
Westover is all set for another tilt at the Arc (Niall Carson/PA)

Juddmonte’s other top-class performer in the middle-distance division is the Ralph Beckett-trained Westover, who on Friday enjoyed a racecourse gallop at Salisbury in preparation for a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week.

The four-year-old has been kept fresh since being narrowly denied by Hukum in a pulsating renewal of the King George at Ascot in July, and Mahon is counting down the days until his next big-race assignment in Paris.

He added: “Westover had a day out in Salisbury and everything went lovely. Ralph was very happy and Rob (Hornby) was very happy with him. He had a good blow afterwards and that will put him spot on.

“I think he’ll head away to the beach this week, which he usually does, and he’ll be ready to head to Longchamp then.

“His form is very good – he’s been competing with the best of them – and just looking at the long-range forecasts the weather looks pretty settled in Paris, so hopefully we might get nice ground, which would be great.”

Lightning strike turns thoughts to Abbaye challenge

Rogue Lightning looks a sprinter going places and could take his chance in Prix de l’Abbaye following a cosy victory in the Betfred Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster.

Tom Clover’s three-year-old is improving at a rate of knots and since being gelded is unbeaten in three outings.

His last victory came in a valuable Ascot handicap and upped to Listed class on Town Moor he faced only three rivals.

However, one of those was Raasel, a very solid 110-rated sprinter who arrived off the back of a good win at Haydock last week. But he was always fighting a losing battle as Danny Tudhope coaxed Rogue Lightning (9-4) home for a three-quarters of a length success from the even-money favourite.

“He’s always been a horse that we’ve liked,” said Clover. “It’s just fantastic for The Rogues Gallery (winning syndicate) as we’ve got 55 of them here today, Doncaster have been brilliant with them and gave them a box.

Members of the Rogues Gallery syndicate
Members of the Rogues Gallery syndicate (Nigel French/PA)

“To have a runner at the St Leger meeting with so many here, it means an awful lot.

“We actually put him in the Prix de l’Abbaye with the five-furlong division looking so open. He’s very fast, he’s got so much speed and he’s just a lovely horse. Gelding has obviously helped, he was very keen but relaxes a bit better now.

“If he gets in the Abbaye we’ll probably go.”

Poet Master (9-2) looks another very nice prospect for Karl Burke and took his record to three wins from just four outings in the Betfred City Of Doncaster Handicap.

Poet Master won in fine style
Poet Master won in fine style (Nigel French/PA)

Well beaten on his handicap debut at Haydock, he seemed suited by dropping back down to seven furlongs from a mile.

Always handy under Sam James, he saw off his rival for the lead, Dark Thirty, and held the challenge of Zouky by two and three-quarter lengths.

James said: “It felt like we went a good gallop, but I was always travelling comfortably the whole way, in my comfort zone.

“I think the better the race he runs in the better he’ll be but he still needs to learn about the game, he was a little bit on it and I struggled to pull him up afterwards but he’s obviously got plenty of ability.

“He’s just got his own ideas a bit and even though he’d won a couple, he’s still green. To me it didn’t feel like he was in love with the ground, but he was still able to travel.

“He’s probably a very decent horse and he’d have to be black type now, the faster they go the easier he’ll win.”

Swift Salian (7-2) ran out a very easy winner of the I Love Julie Parkes Nursery Handicap for David and Nicola Barron.

Fresh from winning a Grade One in Canada on Saturday evening, it looked like William Buick had come to Town Moore especially for Charlie Appleby’s State Of Desire but he was a major disappointment.

Swift Salian kicked clear under Connor Beasley well over a furlong out to win by three and a quarter lengths.

Ala Kaifi justified 100-30 favouritism under Kieran Shoemark in the Hippo Carpet Protector Handicap for Ismail Mohammed.

Matilda Picotte stamps her class on Doncaster feature

Matilda Picotte made every yard of the running to win the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster.

Third in the 1000 Guineas in the spring, Matilda Picotte had failed to strike in three subsequent starts but returned to form in some style in this Group Three contest.

Oisin Murphy had Kieran Cotter’s charge smartly away, seizing the initiative from the off and settling into a nice rhythm on the front as Cachet, last year’s 1000 Guineas winner who was making her seasonal bow, raced on her heels.

Cachet was starting the feel the pace with a couple of furlongs to run, however, dropping back as Murphy kicked on again on Matilda Picotte, opening up a handy gap.

Nigiri tried to challenge inside the last of the seven furlongs, but Matilda Picotte (6-1) was too good, coming home three and three-quarter lengths clear, with a further two lengths back to Vetiver, who just pipped Cachet for third by a nose.

Cotter said: “She deserved that, she got chinned by a good horse of Jim Bolger’s (Clever And Cool) last time out in a Listed race, but that was over seven furlongs and 110 yards. I thought today back at seven and on less testing ground she’d take the beating. She’s a serious horse.

“Plans were on hold until after today, but we might look at the Prix de la Foret. There’s another Group Three at Newmarket that could be an option, too.

“I don’t think next year she’ll have a problem dropping back down to six, but this year I just felt three-year-olds find it hard against the older sprinters.

Jubilant scenes at Doncaster
Jubilant scenes at Doncaster (Nick Robson/PA)

“She’s never ducked a challenge from day one. Her run in the Guineas was good enough to do what she did today and we felt we had her back to 100 per cent. It was fantastic, she put some serious fillies to bed there.

“She’s probably going to the sales at the end of the year so she might not be mine, but she could be a serious sprinter next year with another year on her back.”

George Boughey, meanwhile, was taking positives from Cachet’s first run since Royal Ascot last year.

“She was a little ring-rusty on ground that was always going to be a question mark. I was pleased that Ryan (Moore) wasn’t over hard on her when the race was gone. She’s sure to improve for it,” he said.

“She showed her zest at home and on the track. There was a moment three down when I thought she might fall out the back of the telly and she battled on. She’s come an awful long way in the last 10 weeks and she was racing against race-fit rivals.

“The Sun Chariot is the natural step for her if she comes out of it all right. She’s going to be sold at the mares’ sale at the end of the year and to get her back on track was great.”

Tom Scudamore scoops top honours in Leger Legends race

Tom Scudamore steered I Still Have Faith to victory in the Vickers.Bet Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster.

Scudamore, who retired earlier this year, was having his first ride in the mile race confined to retired jockeys which raises valuable funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund Jack Berry House and the National Horseracing College.

This year’s line-up featured a range of recently-retired names, including Paul Hanagan, who only bowed out at the Ebor meeting, as well as the likes of Gary Bardwell, Gay Kelleway, Davy Russell, Robbie Power and Jamie Osborne.

The Ben Brookhouse-trained I Still Have Faith was sent off the 100-30 favourite and was covered up early on by Scudamore before launching his challenge with a couple of furlongs to run.

Retired jockeys line up before the Vickers.Bet Leger Legends Classified Stakes
Retired jockeys line up before the Vickers.Bet Leger Legends Classified Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

I Still Have Faith shot clear and while Hanagan tried his best to catch him aboard Biplane, the market leader had lots in hand, coming home a two-and-a-quarter-length victor.

Grand National-winning rider Power took third on Lion’s Pride, while Osborne finished with a flourish for fourth with Cliffs Of Capri.

Scudamore – who retired with 1,499 winners to his name over jumps – was sporting the colours of owner Roger Brookhouse, a long-term ally of his during his professional career.

He said: “It’s lovely. I had more winners for Roger than just about any other owner I rode for – I think I rode 60 or 70 winners for him. It’s a lot of winners and he was fantastic to me all through my career, right from as a claimer.

“We had some wonderful days – Western Warhorse for David (Pipe), we had some really special days. It wasn’t just Western Warhorse, I’m So Lucky – he had a fantastic family that’s still going well.

“He gave me some of my best days in racing and it’s a nice way of bowing out. I can do it properly now and it feels very nice.

“He was cantering a furlong out, they told me he was a good thing and he was.”

I Still Have Faith and Tom Scudamore were stylish winners
I Still Have Faith and Tom Scudamore were stylish winners (Nigel French/PA)

He added: “Everybody wanted to do this, it shows the admiration and respect Jack Berry has from the whole of the sport. It was a great honour and privilege to be asked.”

Hanagan said: “I enjoyed that, she ran a super race – but I think I’m probably blowing harder than she is. It was definitely the right decision (to retire)!”

Power said: “He ran well, he was probably tanking with me for the first two furlongs, but he is a strong traveller anyway.

“I really enjoyed, it’s been great seeing some of the lads again.”

Former champion jump jockey Richard Johnson was another in action, finishing 10th on Always Fearless.

“It was great, the idea is fantastic and it’s great to help the IJF and highlight charities and well done to Doncaster for putting it on at such a big meeting as well,” he said.

“Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it. I enjoyed it, it’s definitely the quickest I’ve been since I rode in it two years ago.”

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Osborne, partner of some National Hunt greats back when he was riding, said: “He would have won on fast ground! I enjoyed it-ish. The first two furlongs I enjoyed, then when he came off the bridle through the middle of the race I hated it and then I was annoyed he actually found a little bit more in the last furlong because that meant I had to keep pushing.

“My horse and I have got 65 years between us so if they had jockey handicap races I think we’d be the winner.

“At halfway I was well off the bridle so it tested my fitness a bit too much and I looked like a child in the last furlong.”

Haggas hails ‘brilliant day’, as King and Queen watch Desert Hero’s gallant Leger run

It was perhaps not quite the result racing wanted in the Betfred St Leger, but the sight of the King and Queen cheering Desert Hero into a valiant third place added to a real sense of occasion at Doncaster.

Although disappointed not to send out a first royal Classic winner in 46 years, after the late Queen’s Dunfermline won the Leger in 1977, trainer William Haggas was well aware of the significance of the King and Queen attending the final Classic of the season – on an afternoon which was also the scene of Frankie Dettori’s final ride in such a race.

There had been suggestions the King might not share his mother’s love and enthusiasm for racing. But that has proven to be well wide of the mark, and the joy clearly evident in Desert Hero’s win at Royal Ascot in June has reignited the nation’s interest in the royal colours.

Having opened a farming and rural skills centre in Dumfries in the morning, the King raced to South Yorkshire in time to watch his Sea The Stars colt, and while the Tom Marquand-ridden Desert Hero found the combination of soft ground and an extended mile and three-quarters possibly stretching him – as well as the brilliance of the winner, Continuous – Haggas felt the day was a big one for Doncaster, and racing as a whole.

William Haggas explains to the King and Queen where the race was won and lost
William Haggas explains to the King and Queen where the race was won and lost (Nick Robson/PA)

“It’s been a brilliant day and brilliant the King and the Queen have come, the crowd have embraced them, they seemed to have enjoyed it and they’ve been very enthusiastic,” said Haggas.

“I haven’t really had time to think about today this week as we’ve been so busy at home, but this horse is doing really well, he gets a bit sweaty but that is him. Physically he is thriving, he’s a very nice horse and a good effort for a first foal from the mare (Desert Breeze, bred by the late Queen).

“It’s been fantastic, the King has been embraced by the crowd, they both have, they’ve been very excited all week and OK he didn’t win but he ran with great credit and I’m sure they are very proud of him. It’s an all-round good day.”

As for the future, a trip to the Melbourne Cup has not yet been ruled out.

“I thought he ran a great race, he was just a little bit on it early and he really wants a mile and a half and a faster gallop. He’s going to be a very, very nice horse,” Haggas went on.

“I don’t know about the Melbourne Cup, that’s not my decision and it still needs to be discussed, hopefully we’ll make a decision quickly, well we have to because he’ll need to go into quarantine.

“He’s had a race there and he’s given his all, so I’m very proud of him. I’m thrilled his owners were here to see him.

“Tom didn’t blame the trip, I don’t think, he blamed the pace early which was a bit gentle for him but sensible in the conditions. He’ll be better with a faster pace and then he can take his time.

“He ran a good race and he beat Chesspiece a fair way this time, it’s probably a career-best so I can’t complain.

Continuous beats Arrest (left) into second with Desert Hero a gallant third
Continuous beats Arrest (left) into second with Desert Hero a gallant third (Tim Goode/PA)

“As for next year a lot will depend on whether he goes for the Melbourne Cup, but he looks to me like a Hardwicke/King George horse.

“The Melbourne Cup is still on the table, but we said we wouldn’t discuss it until after this race because we’ve just been discussing this.”

The eloquent Marquand has not put a foot wrong all week, agreeing to dozens of media requests along the way, and he suggested with a stronger pace he may have finished a good deal closer than the three and a quarter lengths he was beaten.

Marquand said: “He was never quite in his comfort zone, they were always just going half a stride slower than I wanted.

“He’s run great and ran to the line, but it does leave the question whether this trip is him or not, he finds it easier to cruise at a mile and a half.

“It was super having the King and Queen here today to enjoy it. It’s been an enormous day for racing, it’s fantastic. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but he’s run super and lost nothing in defeat.”

No fairytale Leger goodbye, but Dettori proud of Arrest effort

There was no fairytale final Classic for Frankie Dettori as the retiring weighing-room legend had to settle for second aboard Arrest in the Betfred St Leger.

It was long thought Dettori would ride his Royal Ascot winner Gregory for his final crack at one of racing’s elite prizes, but the Italian made a last-minute switch to his John and Thady Gosden-trained stablemate Arrest ahead of declarations on Thursday on account of the soft going at Doncaster.

The 52-year-old had begun his farewell season with 2000 Guineas victory aboard Chaldean and in perfect symmetry he was again donning the Juddmonte silks in which he has enjoyed so many big-race triumphs throughout his career as he went in search of a seventh and final Leger trophy.

Frankie walking out for this final ride in the St Leger
Frankie walking out for this final ride in the St Leger (Danny Lawson/PA)

Like when partnering Arrest in his final Derby earlier in the season, the money came for Dettori’s mount, and he was sent off the 11-4 favourite as the stalls opened for the Doncaster showpiece.

And Dettori’s calculated risk briefly appeared clinical judgement as Arrest surged past a tiring Gregory approaching the final furlong.

However, already edging ahead of them was Ryan Moore aboard Continuous and Dettori was powerless in the closing stages as Aidan O’Brien’s improving colt galloped clear to run out a clinical winner of the world’s oldest Classic.

Dettori said: “I was actually getting excited between the three and the two and I thought I was going to win when I went by Gregory and then I looked over and saw Ryan and though ‘ah, I’m not going to’.

“I think that was a really good Leger, you could almost compare it to the Capri, Stradivarius, Coronet year (2017). I think the top three are pretty good.

Arrest (left) was unable to reel in Continuous at Doncaster
Arrest (left) was unable to reel in Continuous at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)

“I said to John ‘train him as a good mile-and-a-half horse next year’ but then I realised it’s not my problem anymore”

He went on: “I wanted to curse at Ryan, but he’s such a good mate of mine I couldn’t. I congratulated him and he was on the best horse on the day.

“I had a super run and then I saw I Ryan going better than me and I knew getting second would be good.

“He was a bit gassy, but that’s the way he is. He could be a force to be reckoned with next year over a mile and a half.

“It’s been a good journey, it wasn’t to be but I came close and I loved it.”

As at the Ebor meeting Dettori – who enjoyed a chat with the King, in attendance to watch his Desert Hero finish a gallant third, following the race – laughed off the idea he could be tempted to postpone retirement. “It’s got to be (a) big (offer)! Big!” he said.

Arrest’s training team concurred with Dettori’s thoughts that Arrest could be a real player in some top contests next term.

Frankie Dettori chats to the King at Doncaster
Frankie Dettori chats to the King at Doncaster (PA)

They were also satisfied with the brave effort of Gregory, who after being up with the pace throughout plugged on when tired in unsuitable ground to finish a not-disgraced fifth.

Thady Gosden said: “They’ve both run very good races, they’ve just been beaten by a very good horse there.

“Arrest has run a super race to be second. Gregory ran a nice race but the ground just wasn’t in his favour, he’s a horse with a lovely action and it would have been a bit deep for him.

“I think they are both quite versatile regarding trip. If you look at Gregory he’s still got some maturing to do, he’s a big horse and could be a Cup horse next year.

“We’ll have to see with Arrest, he’s stayed a mile-six-and-a-half there which isn’t far off a Cup trip so we’ve lots to look forward to.”

Big names return to action for Leger Legends race

Tom Scudamore will don familiar colours in the ever-popular Vickers.Bet Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster on Sunday.

The one-mile event sees retired riders attempt to recreate past glories to raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund and the National Horseracing College in nearby Rossington, and Scudamore, who called time on his riding career in February, will ride Ben Brookhouse’s appropriately named I Still Have Faith.

Scudamore carried the Brookhouse family silks to Cheltenham Festival glory when Western Warhorse snatched the 2014 Arkle and although his mount this weekend is not at the same level, he does head into this race with leading claims.

“He’s the highest-rated horse in this race, so I’m quite pleased to get on him,” said Scudamore.

Tom Scudamore celebrates on Western Warhorse after victory in the Arkle
Tom Scudamore celebrates on Western Warhorse after victory in the Arkle (David Davies/PA)

“I’ve had a lot of success in the Brookhouse colours over the years, so it’s quite fitting to have my last go in those colours.

“Obviously we’ve got the yard in Hereford now with young horses, so I’ve been keeping myself busy in that respect and all is good. I might not be quite at peak fitness, but we’re not far off – I haven’t let myself go too badly!”

He went on: “It’s a fantastic cause. Jack Berry is somebody we all admire so much after what he’s done and what he’s achieved over the years and it’s very fitting that he’s once again got the turn out he’s got.

“We’re all competitive people, you don’t ride as many winners as everyone has ridden to not be competitive. I’m sure there’ll be smiles to begin with but we’ll all be deadly serious once it gets going!”

Robbie Power got the perfect send-off at the Punchestown Festival in 2022, but is confident he has done enough in the interim to retain his fitness ahead of getting the leg-up on Mick Appleby’s Lion’s Dream.

Jockey Robbie Power retired at Punchestown in 2022
Jockey Robbie Power retired at Punchestown in 2022 (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “I’m looking forward to it. I was supposed to take part last year but unfortunately I couldn’t.

“This will be my first time riding on a racecourse since I got off Teahupoo in Punchestown in April of last year, but I’ve been busy riding work for Henry (de Bromhead) and keeping myself fit.

“It will be a fun day and it’s for a great cause. I haven’t lost the winning mentality so hopefully I get a good ride and we’ll do our best to be competitive.

“I think everyone will have the same mentality, they’ll be wanting to win, so I’m sure there’ll be no quarter given.”

Davy Russell initially hung up his boots in December last year, but after already making one retirement U-turn this year, will make a second comeback – albeit for one race – aboard David O’Meara’s Culcor.

Jockey Davy Russell celebrates winning the final Grade One of his career aboard Irish Point
Jockey Davy Russell celebrates winning the final Grade One of his career aboard Irish Point (David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

The 44-year-old answered an SOS from Gordon Elliott when returning to deputise for the injured Jack Kennedy and having thought he had exited the weighing room for good following his ride on Galvin in the Grand National, was quickly persuaded to take part in this fund-raising event by fellow jumps stalwart Andrew Thornton.

Russell said: “It should be good craic anyway. I’ve been riding out a bit Gordon and I’ve a few horses and ponies at home as well, so I’ll be fit enough. The weight is a bit of an issue all right, but we’ll manage that – hopefully my boots will fit me!

“It’s a good cause to support. Andrew Thornton got hold of me in Aintree and didn’t give me much chance to think about it!”

At the other end of the scale, it was 1999 when Jamie Osborne retired from race riding and he now brings to an end a 24-year hiatus from the saddle.

Osborne will partner his own Cliffs Of Capri and although soft ground may be against his mount, he credits the race with providing him with some focus, with the fear of failure driving his pre-race fitness regime.

He said: “I have to confess, getting ready for it has probably done me the world of good. I’ve actually tried quite hard riding and going to the gym for the last six weeks. I don’t like admitting it, but I do feel better for it.

“As ever, I’m absolutely useless unless I have a goal, but I don’t know, I will probably go back to being a slob afterwards.

“There has to be some fear attached to it for motivation and the fear has always been making an absolute idiot of myself.

“Cliffs Of Capri has never been as good on soft ground as he has been on good ground, but hopefully he copes with it and it may dry out a bit before the race. If it’s tacky it will probably not be in his favour.”

Other notable names taking part include Richard Johnson (Dandy Maestro), Mattie Batchelor (Mykonos St John) and former champion jockeys on the Flat, Paul Hanagan (Biplane) and Seb Sanders (Always Fearless).

Continuous impresses to give O’Brien seventh Leger win

Continuous added to Aidan O’Brien’s Classic haul with a clinical triumph in the Betfred St Leger at Doncaster.

On a day when a first royal Classic winner since 1977 was a real possibility, it was racing royalty that came to the fore as O’Brien won the showpiece event for the seventh time with the 3-1 second-favourite striking in the hands of Ryan Moore.

The Ballydoyle runner had marked himself out as a prime contender for the final Classic of the season with victory in the Great Voltigeur at York and franked that form in supreme style on Town Moor.

With stablemate Denmark setting the pace from Gregory, Moore was at pains to bide his time aboard Continuous alongside Desert Hero towards the rear of midfield.

But on turning for home Continuous showed his class up the long, stamina-stamina Doncaster straight, working his way to the front two furlongs from home and surging clear to register a two-and-three-quarter-length success over 11-4 favourite Arrest, who was ridden by Frankie Dettori in his final Classic.

Desert Hero ran with huge credit in third for the King and Queen, who were on course to watch the William Haggas-trained colt.

Ryan Moore celebrates with the trophy
Ryan Moore celebrates with the trophy (Danny Lawson/PA)

O’Brien said: “He got the distance very well in York and we were not sure about the distance but he has got it well again.

“There are a lot of possibilities and it will be down to the lads, the Arc is in two weeks and is a possibility, but we’ll talk to Ryan and see what they want to do.

“He’s a lot of class this horse this horse and he does stay and he does handle soft ground. There is every chance he could, he’s a hardy horse and he could back up in two weeks.

“The lads will decide that, but I would say there is a chance.”

The King and Queen helped make a special day at Doncaster
The King and Queen helped make a special day at Doncaster (Danny Lawson/PA)

He added: “It’s so special that the King and Queen were here, you could see the buzz around the parade ring and the passion from the crowd.

“Frankie is another who is special, he has been unbelievable. He’s beaten us in so many races I cannot tell you and I can’t wait until he retires! He’s the most unbelievable rider we’ve ever seen and a great fellow too, a very kind man, he always wants good for everybody, there’s no side to Frankie.

“He’s always worked very hard all his career and he always does his best. It’s not like when he retires he’s not going to go racing, but he’s always been great friends with us. He’s ridden a lot of big winners for us but he’s beaten us more than he’s won for us!

“He used to ride out at Ballydoyle and I always remember him riding Australia when he was a two-year-old and he told us in the March I think it was that he was going to be very special.”

Ryan Moore with Continuous
Ryan Moore with Continuous (PA)

Winning his third Leger, Moore said he was always happy with the way Continuous was travelling: “Over these trips you want the horse to be taking you and I knew a long way out he was going well.

“He showed at York he had a turn of foot and because we went steady I was always happy.

“He’s out of a Galileo mare so I was always confident he’d stay and his sire, Heart’s Cry, was the only horse who could beat Deep Impact in Japan so there was stamina there.

“He showed a really good turn of foot to put the race to bed and then just had a look around in the final furlong.”

Murphy times it to perfection on Sandrine in Park Stakes

Sandrine relished conditions at Doncaster to run out a convincing winner of the Betfred Park Stakes.

A Royal Ascot scorer at two, Andrew Balding’s filly had been without a victory since taking the Lennox Stakes at last year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival.

However, she got the perfect tow into this hotly-contested seven-furlong event and as the front-running Audience and 5-4 favourite Spycatcher got duelling a long way from home, Oisin Murphy switched out the 11-2 winner who came cruising by the two market leaders just inside the final furlong and galloped on gamely to hold off the rallying Audience.

Sandrine has now secured Pattern-race triumphs in all three seasons she has been in training and Anna Lisa Balding, representing her husband, was thrilled to see Kirsten Rausing-owned four-year-old back to winning ways.

She said: “What a star. It is up to Kirsten (if this is her last season), but she owes us nothing. To come back and run as well as she did in the City of York Stakes and then two weeks later run like that in this ground, she has a massive heart.

“Oisin said he was keen not to go too soon and they seemed to go pretty steady early and no one wanted to go on. He got it spot-on.”

Both Paddy Power and Betfair went 12-1 for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 21, but Balding was in no rush to name a next target, with the Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp on October 1 another possible option.

She added: “I think we will see how she is when she gets home as it can sometimes take quite a lot out of them on this ground. It is important with breeding prospects ahead of her to look after her.”

Annaf prevails in thrilling finish to Portland

Annaf’s class came to the fore as he carried top-weight to a game victory in the Betfred Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

Mick Appleby’s four-year-old has been a regular in Group-race company this season and made the podium at Royal Ascot when third in the King’s Stand Stakes.

However, the 7-1 shot was remarkably still a maiden on turf prior to making his 23rd overall career start in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

Ridden with supreme confidence by the in-form jockey, the duo picked their way through a stacked field and pulled out all the stops to prevail in a photo-finish over Julie Camacho’s Significantly.

The victory continued a fine week on Turf Moor for Oakham-based Appleby who enjoyed Flying Childers success with the Breeders’ Cup-bound Big Evs on Friday.

Ryan said: “He was third in the King’s Stand don’t forget. I’ve won on him plenty now so he’s been good to me.

“My only concern today was the ground, but he had run well enough with an ease at Sandown. He’s a classy horse.

“I’d imagine one of those nice Group races before the end of the season will be next, he’s been a star for me.

“Mick and the team have him spot-on every time, but I wasn’t sure if I’d held on. He doesn’t like being in front too long which is why I think all-weather racing suits him.”

He added: “Mick has had a good week, he’s a top trainer, he’s improving every season and he’s got training this lad down to a fine art.”

Boughey pleased as ‘fresh’ Cachet returns from lengthy absence

Last year’s 1000 Guineas heroine Cachet is raring to go ahead of her return to the track in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster on Sunday.

George Boughey’s daughter of Aclaim came close to a Classic double in 2022 and was only a head away from adding the French equivalent to the 1000 Guineas triumph she achieved at Newmarket two weeks prior.

However, she has only been seen once more when finishing fifth in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and after a long 457 days on the sidelines, drops back to seven furlongs for her comeback in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Jockey James Doyle celebrates on Cachet after winning the 1000 Guineas
Jockey James Doyle celebrates on Cachet after winning the 1000 Guineas (David Davies/PA)

Boughey said: “She’s in good shape. The ground is a question mark, she ran very well in the Albany on soft ground but she hasn’t really seen it since.

“Her work has been smart at home and I’m pretty happy with her. She’s a very fresh horse going into the autumn and she’s in good shape.”

Cachet will face a strong cast of rivals, which includes proven Group-level performers.

Richard Hannon’s Magical Sunset relished testing conditions and had Charlie Appleby’s Dream Of Love back in third when winning a Group Three at Goodwood last month, while Ralph Beckett saddles both Dandy Alys and Nigiri, with the latter bringing up a hat-trick in style at York last month.

Magical Sunset relished the ground at Goodwood
Magical Sunset relished the ground at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Samedi Rien was only two lengths behind Cachet’s stablemate Believing when last seen at Pontefract and brings some continental flare to the event from Spain, while Johnny Murtagh’s Clounmacon and Kieran Cotter’s Matilda Picotte both make the trip from Ireland.

The latter finished third behind Mawj and Tahiyra in this year’s 1000 Guineas and having almost got back to winning ways at Tipperary recently, her handler is looking forward to her latest trip to the UK as Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle.

“She’s back on track and we were either going to come to Doncaster or go to the Curragh next week for the Renaissance Stakes,” said Cotter.

“This is a seven-furlong fillies’ race and we opted for this and we’re hoping for a big run from her.”

He went on: “At Tipperary it was seven furlongs and 110 yards and it was the last 50 yards that did for her really, so I think she goes there with a live chance. We’re looking forward to seeing her run, she’s fit and well and we’re keen to roll the dice.”

There are only four declared for the supporting Betfred Scarbrough Stakes where Tom Clover’s Rogue Lightning has the chance to bring up a hat-trick on his return to Pattern company.

The son of Kodiac shaped with real promise in his first couple of outings at two before losing his way, but has thrived since being gelded and dropped to the minimum distance, scoring over course and distance earlier in the summer.

“We’ve always liked the horse and we tried him quite highly as a two-year-old,” explained Clover.

“Since gelding him and dropping him back to five furlongs it seems to have really helped and he looks in good shape.”

Raasel got back to winning ways at Haydock following a promising run behind Highfield Princess at Goodwood and although Clover believes Mick Appleby’s charge rates as a real danger, he is hopeful Rogue Lightning can continue on his upwards curve.

He added: “We hope this is a nice opportunity for him, but Raasel looks in good form and has produced two really good runs recently. He could be a tough horse to beat, but touch wood Rogue Lightning seems progressive and is going the right way.

“He’s been a lovely horse for the owners so far and hopefully he can take us to some more big days.”

Karl Burke’s Beverley Bullet runner-up Silkie Wilkie and Scott Dixon’s Fine Wine complete the line-up on Town Moor.

Iberian rules supreme in Champagne Stakes

Iberian gave a glimpse of his star potential with a taking victory in the Betfred Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Charlie Hills’ youngster went into plenty of notebooks when making an impressive debut at Newbury, but inexperience took its toll at Goodwood when immediately thrust into Group Two company in the Vintage Stakes.

A length second to Haatem on that occasion, connections retained the faith in the exciting son of Lope De Vega, who had another Richard Hannon-trained runner in his way on Town Moor in the shape of the unbeaten Rosallion.

Tom Marquand was keen to shadow the 5-6 favourite up the Doncaster straight, but whereas Rosallion was unable to land a blow when push came to shove, Iberian demonstrated his class, and once hitting the front a furlong out he surged clear to come home two lengths ahead of runner-up Sunway.

Last year’s winner Chaldean went on to land the Dewhurst Stakes before returning at three to claim the 2000 Guineas and this year’s 3-1 scorer is likely to have similarly lofty aspirations, with both Betfair and Paddy Power going 8-1 from 16s for Newmarket’s end-of-season juvenile Group One and 20-1 for the opening Classic of 2024.

Hills said: “That was just what the doctor ordered, perfect. He’s a very exciting horse.

“Listening to Tom when he came back, he said he gave him some feel, he’s got an electric turn of foot and put the race to bed very well.

Iberian poses after the Champagne Stakes
Iberian poses after the Champagne Stakes (PA)

“His work had been unbelievable at home so we just wanted him to show that on a racecourse and I think he’s done that today.

“He learned plenty at Goodwood, where he was unlucky as he was drawn one. I think William (Buick) was conscious to teach him how to do things properly, but he was probably just a bit far out of his racing ground that day and inexperience caught him out. But he did finish well.

“The ground is still pretty soft today, but when the ground is quicker I think you’ll see a better horse.

“It will be the Dewhurst next. Why can’t he be a Guineas horse, he’ll get a mile no problem, his dam stayed really well.

“He’s a straightforward horse with a great attitude, he’s so professional.

“Distant Music won this for my dad so it’s nice to win it.”

Legendary Day makes Mallard impact

Legendary Day is unlikely to be seen back over hurdles any time soon having gained his biggest pay day to date in the Betfred Mallard Handicap at Doncaster.

Trained by Adrian Keatley, the five-year-old was bought out of Hughie Morrison’s yard as a dual purpose prospect, yet despite winning on his first attempt over timber, two subsequent defeats tempered enthusiasm.

In any case, when you have a Flat horse capable of winning £60,000 handicaps you are probably better off sticking to what you know and that is what Keatley, an Irish 1,000 Guineas-winning trainer with Jet Setting when still based in his homeland, intends to do.

It was a narrow success – one of the biggest of 3lb claimer Mark Winn’s career – having been left in front a long way from home, but Legendary Day (12-1) held off 33-1 chance Oneforthegutter by a short-head.

Keatley said: “We bought him for 8,500 guineas to do both and he’s won over £70,000 for us now, but I won’t be in a rush to go back hurdling with him as he’s not a natural. He did win first time over them but he’s not good at getting in and popping, so he could damage himself with his technique.

“There’s nothing wrong with his technique on the Flat. He’s been knocking on the door in these sort of races. Joe Fanning rode him at York earlier in the season and was adamant he’d win one. Oisin (Murphy) rode him the last day in a big race at York and was very happy with him also.

“I said to Mark today, I just thought with his 3lb it might help us get there and it did.

“I’d been watching Mark for a while, he’s a good rider and an astute young man with a good head on his shoulders and I just thought that 3lb would be crucial.

“He was following the fancied one (The Goat) who quickly fell away, so he found himself in front and there was nothing he could do. Thankfully it worked.”

Keatley went on: “We’ve had a good year. We restocked in the middle of last year, we’ve 21 boxes, we rotate as we go and keep it as fresh as we can.

“These are the days you want to have winners, the big meetings.”

Winn said: “He travelled through the race lovely but when I asked him he found it a bit too well and I was in front a long time.

“He has cheekpieces for a reason, but even so he stuck at it very well. It was tight enough and you never like to be too confident.”

Richard Hannon’s Circe had shown up well on her debut at Sandown earlier in the month and had little trouble opening her account at the second attempt in the Coopers Marquees EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Circe (second right) looks to have a bright future
Circe (second right) looks to have a bright future (Tim Goode/PA)

In truth, not many got involved, with Marie Ellen trying to see them all off from the front but Sean Levey always looked confident.

The 3-1 favourite hit the front still on the bridle just over a furlong out and despite looking green in the closing stages, won by a length and a half.

Levey said: “She was very impressive, we liked her first time and she ran in a quality race, beaten by two horses with experience.

“We hoped she’d stepped forwards and she has. I would have liked to have seen her put her head down a bit more and run right through the line, but I didn’t really get a chance to do that as she did it too easy.

“She’s a big horse with plenty of scope and she’ll make a nice three-year-old.”

William Buick guided the George Boughey-trained Baradar (100-30 favourite) to an easy win in the Doncaster Groundworks Reinforcements Handicap, while Ralph Beckett’s Mistressofillusion (7-2) made all in the British EBF Ruby Anniversary Premier Fillies’ Handicap.

Marquand fully focused ahead of Desert Hero’s St Leger date

Tom Marquand is concentrating on the result rather than the occasion ahead of his bid to carry the royal colours to Classic glory in the Betfred St Leger at Doncaster.

It is 46 years since Dunfermline provided the late Queen with the last of her five British Classic wins in the Town Moor showpiece and optimism is high that Desert Hero can end the long wait for another victory by adding his name to the roll of honour on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained colt brought the house down after giving the newly-crowned King and Queen their first taste of Royal Ascot success in the King George V Stakes in June and he has since enhanced his Leger claims by landing the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.

Marquand has ridden multiple Group One winners at home and abroad, including a first Classic win with Galileo Chrome in a behind-closed-doors Leger three years ago – but in his view Desert Hero’s victory in Berkshire three months ago tops the lot.

“I’d be lying if I said anything other than I didn’t even give it a thought beforehand, as a jockey you don’t. There’s only one thing that matters and that’s winning and everything else pales into insignificance unless you win,” he said.

“It was an absolutely incredible day and an extremely special one that will probably rank up right up there for the rest of my days riding.

“Honestly, it’s probably the highest. Obviously you’ll have higher profile wins in higher grade races, but as an Englishman the opportunity to ride the King’s first Royal Ascot winner, with them there and seeing the excitement and the pleasure both the King and Queen got from it, was incredible.”

The King and Queen cheer on Desert Hero at Royal Ascot
The King and Queen cheer on Desert Hero at Royal Ascot (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Following the late Queen’s death 12 months ago, there were genuine concerns the royal patronage of the sport might fade. Marquand feels Desert Hero’s Ascot win went some way to allaying those fears.

“For racing it’s extremely important and gratifying that the passion for the sport that we all love so much is there,” he continued.

“I think that’s what made the occasion so special, that it was so clear for everyone that was there and watching on the TV as well the joy the King and Queen got from that winner.

“I didn’t think that I’d get a Classic-winning opportunity for them so soon after obviously, but that Royal Ascot will be hard to topple off top spot.

“It was great, but to have that line of progression from Desert Hero to the point where he’s going into the St Leger as one of the main chances in the race is fantastic for everyone.”

Given the expectation, Marquand will have plenty of pressure on his shoulders when he heads out onto the Doncaster turf on Saturday afternoon, but he is keen to treat it like just another race.

He said: “I’m looking forward to it, it’s a big day and an important one with pretty special circumstances, obviously. It’s great.

“Obviously we’re very appreciative to be in the situation we are going into the weekend with him, but we kind of put that to one side going into the racing scenario as it’s all insignificant unless his head lands in front in the right place.

“It doesn’t matter who owns him or who is involved or whatever if that doesn’t happen, so first and foremost the main priority is to give him the best opportunity to win that we can and after that hopefully we’ll have a bit more to worry about!

“It’s all insignificant if he doesn’t win, so there’s not much point spending time thinking about it.”

Desert Hero with connections at Royal Ascot
Desert Hero with connections at Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

Desert Hero finished only eighth when favourite for Newbury’s London Gold Cup on his seasonal debut, but Marquand insists he was far from despondent.

He said: “He didn’t disappoint us all at Newbury. It was a mile and a quarter, it was obviously his first run of the year and things didn’t quite go to plan as I ended up making the running, so I actually came back in extremely happy with him.

“I just thought he’d been a bit slow and he’d love going up to a mile and a half and the progression from there has been massive.

“Ascot was obviously a huge performance, but he went and cemented that at Goodwood up in Stakes company and on very different ground as well.”

One question Desert Hero will have to answer is whether his stamina will last out over a mile and three-quarters, but Marquand is as hopeful as he can be the longer trip will not be an issue.

“He’s shown how appliable he is to different things and different conditions. He’s got a different trip to contend with this time, but I think it’s fair to say he’s shown the trip shouldn’t be an issue and on breeding it shouldn’t be an issue, so we’re hoping it’s not going to be,” he added.

“Until you run over it, it’s still a question mark, but I think it’s one of the question marks going into a race like this you don’t mind having. If the trip is the only problem we have then fantastic!”

Marquand knows Desert Hero will not have things all his own way, with a clutch of talented rivals lying in wait.

Frankie Dettori bids for one final Classic win before his retirement aboard Arrest, while Continuous and Gregory renew rivalry after finishing first and third in the Great Voltigeur at York last month.

Desert Hero (left) winning at Goodwood
Desert Hero (left) winning at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Further strength in depth is added by the supplemented Middle Earth and Chesspiece, who was only a neck behind Desert Hero at Goodwood in early August.

Assessing the field, Marquand said: “It’s a race where there’s a lot of strength in it, but there’s no standout horse that needs to disappoint for something else to win. It makes it interesting.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and I know William and the team at Somerville Lodge are thrilled they’ve found a horse like him this year for the King and Queen – it’s given everyone a huge amount of pleasure to be in this position.

“Whatever happens, they’ve done a fantastic job with him and everyone has enjoyed the ride so far.”

Arrest chasing ‘special’ Leger success on Dettori’s Classic farewell

Frankie Dettori will don the Juddmonte silks when he makes his final British Classic appearance aboard Arrest in Doncaster’s Betfred St Leger.

The Italian has won the Town Moor showpiece six times throughout his career and struck in the colours of the Abdullah family with Logician in 2019.

Dettori was expected to partner his Royal Ascot winner Gregory in his last shot at Classic glory, but made a late switch to the John and Thady Gosden-trained stablemate after a wet week in South Yorkshire.

And it could be somewhat fitting that he bows out for connections who have provided him with some of the biggest victories in his career.

Jockey Frankie Dettori linked up Arrest to win the Chester Vase earlier in the season
Jockey Frankie Dettori linked up Arrest to win the Chester Vase earlier in the season (David Davies/PA)

“Any time Frankie is on board is great and I suppose the association he has had with Juddmonte over the years has been so strong and we’ve had so many big days together that we can hopefully dream of another on Saturday,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for the owner.

“It would be special and it’s a hot race, it’s certainly hard to dismiss much in the race. They are all of a similar level and it’s definitely quality over quantity.”

The race offers Arrest the chance for Classic redemption having fluffed his lines when sent off favourite in the hands of Dettori in his final Derby at Epsom earlier in the summer.

However, connections believe they made the wrong decision to run the son of Frankel on quick ground during the height of summer and are hopeful their high-class colt will stay the stamina-sapping one-mile-six-furlong trip in his preferred ground.

Frankie Dettori after placing 10th in the Derby aboard Arrest
Frankie Dettori after placing 10th in the Derby aboard Arrest (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mahon added: “In fairness to the horse, his record is pretty solid and we made two bad calls with the horse running him on good to firm ground at Epsom and Ascot. To be fair they were two big races and big meetings and we just made the wrong call and we’ve learned from that.

“We know he likes an ease in the ground and if you forget those two runs, then his record is pretty outstanding.

“It’s like everything, until you try it, you don’t know 100 per cent (if Arrest will stay). But it didn’t look like he was stopping at the end of the Geoffrey Freer, so you would have to think he will be fine over it. Over a mile and five and a half at Newbury he looked comfortable enough, so we just have to be hopeful he gets the extra furlong.”

Arrest is one of three for the Gosdens alongside Gregory and Middle Earth as the Clarehaven team seeks a second British Classic of the campaign.

Kieran Shoemark takes the ride on Gregory, who although tasting defeat for the first time in the Great Voltigeur, showed his liking for this trip when winning the Queen’s Vase at the Royal meeting before that.

Gregory (left) won the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot
Gregory (left) won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

“He’s got a great mind and he is a pretty laid-back character,” said John Gosden.

“I trained both the mother and father and he’s inherited all the good traits of their mental attitude towards racing.

“We gave him all the time he required and he’s done nothing but shine this year. I think he’ll enjoy the distance, although we are perfectly aware it looks like being a vintage St Leger.”

Middle Earth was supplemented into the contest by owners Qatar Racing having proven his class in York’s Melrose Stakes and the mount of Oisin Murphy ticks plenty of boxes despite stepping up markedly in class.

Gosden added: “He’s proven he stays the trip, which let me tell you, the one mile, six furlongs and a few yards, it is a long straight, it tests the tactical speed and the stamina. He looks like he should be able to answer those two calls.

“If you’d won a handicap in the style he did at York, that was a tougher race than some of the trials. If you’ve got the right horse at the right time and he handles the ground, then he has every right to be there.”

While the Gosdens field a team of three, there will be four from Aidan O’Brien’s all-conquering Ballydoyle string, including Continuous who lowered the colours of Gregory at York last month.

He is the mount of Ryan Moore and is joined by Bahrain Trophy runner-up Tower Of London, Alexandroupolis and Denmark as the handler searches for his sixth win the race.

O’Brien said: “Continuous is very well. He came out of York very well. He’s a horse that has class and you can take your time with over a mile and six (furlongs).

“Tower Of London just got beat at Newmarket. He will get the trip, he’s a brother to Capri. He handles good ground and we’re very happy with him.

“Alexandroupolis was second in a Derby Trial and then suffered a setback. We’ve always liked him and think he’s come forward plenty from his last run, but will probably come forward more after this.”

Godolphin are no strangers to success in this contest and their hopes are carried by Simon and Ed Crisford’s Chesspiece, who was only a neck behind the reopposing Desert Hero in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and will relish the extra two furlongs.

“It’s a big day and he’s done well progressing this season,” said Ed Crisford.

“It’s a tough race, the St Leger, and there’s some good horses in it and he has a few lengths to make up on those higher-rated horses, but he wants every yard of the trip and it looks like being suitable ground for him.

“If he can improve a little bit, I’m sure he will be in the mix.”

Chesspiece (blue) finishing second to Desert Hero at Goodwood
Chesspiece (blue) finishing second to Desert Hero at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Chesspiece’s training team recently celebrated their first Group One success when landing the Prix Morny and now look to quickly follow up in one of the oldest races on the calendar.

Crisford added: “It’s exciting to be a part of the Leger, it is always a great race and to have a horse with a bit of a squeak is great.

“You will have to really stay well in the Leger – I think our fella will stay well and I think with the softer conditions, it will be a grinding sort of race. He’s there with a chance for sure.”