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St Leger – History
31/08/11

The Group 1 St Leger Stakes now sponsored by Ladbrokes is run over 1M 6F and 132 yards in early September each year and completes the set of the five British Classics all of the other four being run much earlier in the year. Those looking for Horse racing tips might want to take a look at the history.

Namibian
© Racehorse Photos

Namibian

Established in 1776 the St Leger is without doubt the oldest of Britain’s five Classic races and is raced over much the longest distance. It also form the final part of the Triple Crown – the 1000 Guineas and the Derby being the other two legs, although it’s rare for many horses to have a shot at the feat in recent years.

The race takes its name from the man who devised it – Anthony St Leger – who was an Army Officer and politician who lived near Doncaster, although the race didn’t initially bear his name. The first running of the race also took place at Cantley Common and not Town Moor, and was won by a filly called Allabaculia over a distance in excess of the current distance – two miles. It was only after the inaugural running that the name “St Leger” was added to the race after the race inaugurator and moved onto the Town Moor in 1778.

Gradually the race became more and more important and prominent in the racing calendar with the race cut its current distance in 1813 and further kudos was added to the race when a horse called West Australian completed the first ever Triple Crown in 1853.

Although the race is the most famous run at Doncaster it has had other homes especially during WW2 when it was run at four other venues including Newmarket and York. York also hosted the 2006 event when Doncaster was closed for redevelopment. Those looking forward to the Horse Race betting will be descending upon Doncaster this year though.

As one would expect with a race as old as the St Leger it has inspired many similar events across Europe such as the Prix Royal-Oak, the Irish St. Leger, the Deutsches St. Leger and the St. Leger Italiano, although many of those are not exclusively for three-year-olds as the Doncaster St Leger is.

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