St Leger: the History

Bondi Beach (Purple and White) and Simple Verse (Red) battle down the Doncaster straight.

The St Leger Stakes is one of the key races in the three flat season and is open to both colts and fillies. The race takes place in September every year at Doncaster and is the final leg of the English Triple Crown. The race is also the oldest British classic having established back in 1776. This article will look at the some of the greatest St Leger’s in history including when it was won by one of the greats in Nijinsky.

The illustrious British Triple Crown is a feat that not many horses have been able to achieve. The last was in 1970 and was achieved by the great Nijinsky. The horse went into the race having won his previous 10 races in a row so was expected to take all the beating. He travelled easily into the race and only had to be pushed out to win by another legend in jockey Lester Piggott to record his 11th straight win. This meant that Nijinsky had become the first horse in 55 years to win the Triple Crown and no horse since then has managed to achieve this. The nearest came in 2012 when the Aiden O’Brien trained Camelot came second in this race having already won the two previous classics.

Another star of the past to win this iconic race was Ormonde in 1886. Another winner of the triple crown in the process and won with ease by four lengths at a short price of 1/7. This shows the horse was clearly expected to win so was more of a watching brief for punters at the time. You can have your own horse racing bets on some of the key races coming up here. Ormonde was renowned as the ‘horse of the century’ at the time and finished his career having ran 16 times winning on every occasion.

One of the renowned trials for the St Leger is the Great Voltigeur stakes that takes place in august and is run at York. This race was named after another winner of the St Leger in Voltigeur. Voltigeur won the St Leger back in 1850 but is remembered for the strange circumstances in which this occurred. He went into the race well fancied having won the Derby previously and won the race although finishing in a dead heat with a horse called Russborough.  The two camps at the time refused to share the winnings and therefore strangely the race was re run. Voltigeur this time made no error and won the race by a length.

The last to make the list of runners is certainly not one of the best winners in history but is one that will be remembered. In 2015, Simple verse won the St Leger under Andrea Atzeni after having a barging match down the straight with Bondi Beach. Simple Verse crossed the line in first but was disqualified after the race following a lengthy enquiry on course with the Bondi Beach team. However the Simple Verse team then appealed against the enquiry and the result was reversed awarding them the race in the process.


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