By Duane Fonseca
A late swoop after being hard pressed by David Egan saw KHK Racing’s Eldar Eldarov prevail in keenly contested Group 1 St Leger on a wet Sunday afternoon at Doncaster.
It was a second success in the race for trainer Roger Varian, whose 3yo Dubawi colt was fourth last time out in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp in July.
Ridden mid-division for most of the race and a position that remained unchanged in a tough field of nine, Eldar Eldarov, winner of the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, had plenty to do turning for home, but with Egan finding a path for him his chances improved.
Just an opening wasn’t enough and Egan had to drive him hard with Eldar Eldarov’s defining moment coming late on as he stretched fully to take up the running when just inside the final furlong of the 2900m affair. At the finish, Egan and his partner were two clear of Godolphin’s favourite New London, trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick. Giavellotto, for trainer Marco Botti and jockey Neil Callan, was a further half length back in third.
“I quietly thought he had a real big shout today,” said Varian, who won the 2014 running with Kingston Hill.
“Not everybody was wowed by his run in France last time out, but the winner (Onesto) went and pushed Luxembourg all the way in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“He had a tough race that day which is why he didn’t run again and he was only just getting going at the line in France. His run at Royal Ascot showed he had stamina in abundance and that race is proving a good trial for the Leger. He’s also handled soft ground as a two-year-old. So I knew he’d stay and handle the ground, it was whether he was good enough.
“Sometimes the longer you do something the harder things get, so it gets more satisfying. I think we’d only been training three or four years when Kingston Hill won the Leger so this is a very sweet success.
“I think we see him as a Cup horse next season, he’s blessed with stamina and has an admirable attitude. We brought him back to a mile and a half in France and he was only just getting going at the finish.
“If he stays sound we could have him for the next two, three or four years. I think he’s very exciting. I’m delighted for David, you won’t meet a nicer guy, he’s genuine, hard working and gracious in defeat while not being obnoxious in victory.”
Frankie Dettori and Andrew Balding combined to win the card opening 1400m Group 2 Champagne Stakes with Chaldean, who won by three and a half lengths, while Pat Dobbs rode trainer Richard Hannon’s Trillium to victory in the 1000m Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes.
Balding’s Coltrane turned up the surprise winner of the Group 2 Doncaster Cup Stakes over 3600m winning with a solid performance under David Probert. Dettori won another Group 2 success in the form of the 1400m Park Stakes when partnering Ralph Beckett’s Kinross.