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Double Trigger. Bronze statue at Doncaster Racecourse (photo credit Helena, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Double Trigger. Bronze statue at Doncaster Racecourse (photo credit Helena, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In just a few weeks’ time, the St Leger Stakes horse race will be held at Doncaster racecourse in the English county of Yorkshire. The race is the oldest, longest and last of the five English Classic held every year and forms part of the English Triple Crown, following the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby.

If you are looking for a horse race with true heritage, the St Leger fits the bill. It was first held 245 years ago in 1776 and was named after Anthony St Leger, a local politician, and army officer. The first Derby–St Leger double was achieved by Champion in 1800, while West Australian recorded the first Triple Crown success in 1853.

This Year’s Contenders

Top contenders for this year's race include Hurricane Lane who has won five of his six races so far and is currently priced at 5/4 (+125) in the latest horse racing odds. He finished third in the Derby and followed that defeat with a win in the Irish Derby before landing the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris in July.

Also in the running is Epsom Derby winner Adayar who was victorious in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting in July. He was sired by the unbeaten legend of the track, Frankel, and will be aiming to be the first Derby winner to win the St Leger since Reference Point in 1987. In the ante-post horse racing betting tips, he is well-fancied and priced at 7/1 (+700) to complete the double.

The Elusive Triple Crown

Only 15 horses have ever won the Triple Crown and only one has managed the feat in the last 85 years, when Nijinsky ended a 35-year wait for a treble winner under jockey Lester Piggott in 1970. The last horse to compete in the St Leger having already landed the first two legs of the Triple Crown was Camelot, who just missed out after finishing second behind Encke in 2012.

Top Performers

Bill Scott remains the most successful jockey in St Leger history with 9 wins between 1821 and 1846. His brother John also holds the record as the leading trainer with 16 victories, the first with Matilda in 1827 and the last with The Marquis in 1862.

One of the greatest performances of all time came back in 1954 when American-bred thoroughbred Never Say Die beat the field by a record 12-length margin with 18-year-old Lester Piggott onboard. The colt also won the Derby in the same year from a starting price of 33/1 (+3300).

Current Trainers in Form

Of the trainers currently working, Aidan O'Brien has the best record with six winners since 2001. His most recent victory came in 2018 with Kew Gardens ridden by Ryan Moore. Fellow trainer John Gosden has a good strike rate having landed four wins and eight places from his 17 entries. Gosden trained the recently retired Logician who won in a record time (at Doncaster) under Frankie Dettori in 2019.

The St Leger is packed with history and has seen some memorable performances over the years. With a strong line-up in 2021, this year’s renewal could be another that is still being talked about for years to come.

There are more interesting articles you can find in our section on Horse Racing.

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