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Peerless Moore lands his first St. Leger

Irish-trained Capri staves off Crystal Ocean and Stradivarius in Doncaster thriller

Gulf News

Dubai: How many times has it been said before and how many times will it be said again — Ryan Moore is without doubt the best jockey in Europe, if not the world.

A man of few words, who goes about his business in an ominously down-to-earth manner, Moore delivered yet another masterclass aboard the Irish-trained Capri to win the St. Leger, the longest, oldest and last of British racing’s five Classics, on Saturday.

The Doncaster showpiece has a rich history of producing some breathtaking battles and this year’s renewal was no different, with three horses waging a monumental battle to the line.

But in the end, it was the grey son of the incomparable Galileo who would claim the season-ending honour and the lion’s share of the £700,000 (Dh3.5 million) booty.

While the winner was supplying Aidan O’Brien with a fifth St. Leger, it was, strange as it may seem, a first for multiple champion jockey Moore, who has been a dominant force on the turf over the last decade

Capri, who became the first horse since Triple Crown hero Nijinsky in 1970 to win both the Irish Derby and the St. Leger, held off Crystal Ocean, the mount of reigning champion jockey Jim Crowley and, James Doyle’s Stradavarius. The margins being a half a length and a short-head.

Crystal Ocean made a strong run from the rear, but Capri held the aces to score by half a length and give O’Brien a fifth win in the race. Stradivarius was just a short-head away in third.

“He’s a very good horse, he’s an Irish Derby winner and a Group Two-winning two-year-old as well,” said Moore, 34. He’s run in a lot of good races this year, he’s a very good horse and very honest.

“When Crystal Ocean came to him, he dug in. He’s done very little wrong in his career and has progressed from race to race.

“It was a very good performance in a very good St. Leger.”

On having won all five of Britain’s Classic, he told ITV Racing: “It means you have to win it again, really.”

O’Brien, who won his first St. Leger in 2001 with Milan added: “Ryan gave him a class ride. He’s a horse with a lot of class, which we saw in the Irish Derby. When Ryan wanted it, he gave it to him.”