The St. Leger Festival was first run in 1776 making it the world’s oldest Classic race. This year’s event is just around the corner with the first day kicking off on Wednesday 11 September. The four-day festival is one of the premier horse race events of the autumn on British and Irish calendar and it will bring together the best flat race horses to Doncaster Racecourse. Race fans are gearing up for the exciting festival as it offers spectators something different than Grand National horse racing, which employs jumps.
St. Leger is one of the crown jewels of British and Irish racing and this season will be no different. There is a certain ambiance around the St. Leger Festival making it one of the most highly anticipated races on the calendar.
What is the St. Leger Stakes?
The festival is a four-day flat race extravaganza that brings out the best in horse racing in Yorkshire. One of the reasons the St. Leger Festival brings out thousands of spectators each year is due to it being the only Classic race in the north of England.
The St. Leger Stakes is the event’s premier race and it brings together colts and fillies into one singular event. The horses run a distance of one mile, six furlongs, and 132 yards. The St. Leger Stakes is the final Classic of the year and is considered the fifth crown jewel of the five Classic events.
Classic races consist of the 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, The Oaks, Epsom Derby, and St. Leger Stakes. If one horse can win three different races, they receive the Triple Crown. Winning multiple Classics isn’t an easy feat. Just once has a horse won four events in a single year. In 1902, Sceptre won the Guineas races, The Oaks, and the St. Leger Stakes.
Top Horses for St. Leger 2019
Trainer John Gosden has won four St. Leger races dating back to 1996. His last win at Doncaster was 2011 with Masked Marvel. This year, he could pull off another victory in the famed September race. Gosden’s Logician goes into the St. Leger Stakes as the second favourite at odds of 8/1. The three-year-old has run just three races, but all three ended in wins.
Gosden’s rival, Aidan O’Brien, has won six times at St. Leger during his career. His horse, Japan, is the bookies favourite going into Doncaster. Japan is 3/1 to win the race. The racing favourite has won three times in seven race starts.
Japan isn’t O’Brien’s only horse in the St. Leger Stakes. Anthony Van Dyke goes into the Saturday race at odds of 10/1. His 27 July performance at Ascot has led some to back off the horse, however. Anthony Van Dyke finished the race in 10th place.
Sovereign goes into the St. Leger at 10/1. Sovereign won the Irish Derby and showed great stamina during the running of the race. O’Brien is the trainer of Sovereign and could get his hands on the St. Leger trophy with one of several horses competing.
The St. Leger Stakes will cap off the festival at Doncaster Racecourse on 14 September. O’Brien won the St. Leger Stakes last season and a share of the £700,000 prize fund. Can he do it again this year?