On Friday afternoon Doncaster was struck hard by a storm. On Saturday it was hammered by a hurricane.
So, too, were the nine Cazoo St Leger runners made to look wholly inferior by Hurricane Lane, who crushed those humbled opponents to put his name on the roll of honour of the world’s oldest Classic.
A race that has often proved too much for some of the sport’s biggest equine stars was claimed with ruthless simplicity by the Godolphin ace, previously successful in the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris.
At the line the Derby third was two and three-quarter lengths in front of the Derby and now St Leger second, Mojo Star, thus paying a big compliment to the colt who beat them both at Epsom, Hurricane Lane’s Charlie Appleby-trained stable companion Adayar.
The Mediterranean, one of four runners sent to Doncaster by Aidan O’Brien, finished third.
“He was the class horse in the race and the race worked out beautifully,” said William Buick, rider of the 8-11 winner.
“He took me into the race so nicely and he had that turn of foot at the end. He’s a great horse and it was lovely to win the Leger with him. I knew I was on the best horse and it was just a case of keeping it smooth and not setting him too hard a task.”
For Godolphin this was a seventh St Leger. For Sheikh Mohammed it was win number 11. For Appleby it was the first. As extra icing on the cake, the £421,355 first prize sent him soaring past John and Thady Gosden and into a closing second behind Andrew Balding in the British trainers’ championship.
“It was a fantastic performance,” said Appleby. “It’s great to win any Classic, but to win the final Classic and such an historic race is extra special.
“The great thing about this horse is he quickens. For a staying horse he has a gear change. I thought it was a great performance and the Derby form has held up as well, with Mojo Star running a great race in second.”
Appleby added: “I have to give a lot of credit to the team at home. He has given us a couple of days where he has challenged us. He is a boy. He sometimes likes to do things his own way in the mornings.”
Inevitably, Hurricane Lane’s odds for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe were cut, with bookmakers generally now quoting him between 9-2 and 6-1 for a contest that is very much the aim of Adayar, who misses his intended outing in Sunday’s Prix Niel.
Appleby said: “We mooted after the Grand Prix de Paris that potentially we might look towards an Arc. We know it’s never been done but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, that’s what I’m a big believer in.
“He’s gone and won well there. We’ll let the dust settle and see how he comes out of it, then start to formulate plans.
“Adayar missed a couple of gallops and missed this weekend but he’s back on song and looked great this morning. As it stands at the moment, Adayar is the main Arc contender, and I’d say we could just be looking towards Hurricane Lane joining him as well. Those are nice conversations to have!”
fonte : RacingPost