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Leading Light gives Aidan O’Brien his 20th British Classic

14 Sep 2013

Leading Light maintained his unbeaten record for the season with the first Group 1 triumph of his career in the Ladbrokes St Leger, defeating the Investec Oaks winner, Talent, and the Investec Derby third, Galileo Rock.

Leading Light is triumphant in the Ladbrokes St Leger in front of the packed Doncaster stands. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

After victories with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005) and the pain of seeing the Triple Crown seeking Camelot defeated last year, trainer Aidan O’Brien claimed his fourth Ladbrokes St Leger victory this afternoon with Leading Light.

It means that he now registered a remarkable 20 British Classic triumphs – six in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, two in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and four in each of the other three Cassics, the  Investec Derby, Investec Oaks and Ladbrokes St Leger.

It has also given him a 50 point lead in the Trainer of the Series table which may well prove unassailable with just the Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket in 13 days’ time and the five QIPCO British Champions Day races at Ascot on Saturday 19 October to come.

Leading Light was unbeaten in three races this season including two Group 3 contests, one of which was the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

This was a big step up in class, but the son of Montjeu took it in his stride with his stamina guaranteed after winning over two miles at Royal Ascot.

He led well over two furlongs out and while strongly challenged by Galileo Rock, he pulled clear inside the final furlong to win by a length and a quarter from Talent, who was hampered a furlong and a half out but stayed on well after getting in the clear.

Galileo Rock ran third – he would have preferred faster ground – while Libertarian, who had beaten him by a short-head in the Investec Derby when they finished second and third, came fourth.

Foundry, Aidan O’Brien’s other runner, was close behind in fifth with Secret Number, Godolphin’s best finisher, in sixth. There was then a gap back to the rest.

Joseph O’Brien, who was winning his first St Leger, said: "He jumped a bit slowly and I could see a couple of horses going forward, I knew we weren’t going to go much of a gallop so I gave mine a kick just to get up there.

"He’s quite lazy in his races, he wears cheekpieces and I got him going plenty early – I knew if I didn’t hit him until a furlong and a half out he would win."