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St Leger – time for a facelift?

Home Forums Horse Racing St Leger – time for a facelift?

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  • #4977
    Bosranic
    Member
    • Total Posts 1982

    With yet another mediocre field assembled for the final classic, isn’t it about time this ‘prestigious’ race was given a radical facelift?

    I’m sorry, but this race has rarely produced a winner in recent years that deserves to be labelled a ‘classic winner’. It is generally comprised of horses that weren’t good enough to win a Derby / Oaks and glorified handicappers – the current favourite wasn’t even good enough to win the Ebor.

    I’ve never understood why the final classic hasn’t been run over 10F. It’s the premier distance in thoroughbred racing and should be a ‘classic distance’. This is a race that could bring together all of the respective classic winners – Epsom winners stepping back in trip, Newmarket winners stepping up. The Course – a flat, galloping track – would also attract the best from across Europe and quite possibly beyond. This is something Epsom fails to do.

    Unfortunately, this years renewal (like previous years) will produce a horse that will go down in history as a classic winner – albeit with a pinch of salt.

    #113226
    Sal
    Member
    • Total Posts 562

    And what does a facelift leave you with? Usually Anne Robinson or the Bride of Wildenstein.

    Some of the recent St Leger winners have been well up to scratch – Scorpion, Milan, Sixties Icon looked a reasonable horse although he lost his way – and some are disappointing, in the same way that some Derby, Guineas and Oaks winners have been disappointing.

    Stamina is a vital part of the thoroughbred and the value should not be corroded. Leave it alone.

    #113230
    steveh31
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1922

    Shouldnt the question be why arent the horses of today not good enough like the horses of the past. Whois to blame is it the St Leger organises fault that they cant get the horse to attend, the trainers for not breeding them or is there too much going on at the time like the arc.

    #113240
    Bosranic
    Member
    • Total Posts 1982

    Shouldnt the question be why arent the horses of today not good enough like the horses of the past. Whois to blame is it the St Leger organises fault that they cant get the horse to attend, the trainers for not breeding them or is there too much going on at the time like the arc[/color:2czqfj3t].

    Yes. Soldier of Fortune held an excellent, favourites chance of winning the Leger. Yet his connections would rather target their horse at the Arc. You can’t blame them. Any horse with his level of ability should be aimed at an Arc rather than a classic race in decline.

    Some of the recent St Leger winners have been well up to scratch – Scorpion, Milan, Sixties Icon looked a reasonable horse although he lost his way[/color:2czqfj3t].

    Scorpion won a six-runner Leger beating The Geezer. Milan defeated the ‘mighty’ Demophilos and Mr Combustible. Sixties Icon has done nothing but claim a poor Group2 event. This years renewal is an absolute shambles. A horse that couldn’t even win a handicap is favourite.

    #113243
    Irish Stamp
    Member
    • Total Posts 3181

    NO it’s not time for a change. We need the distance races, the worst thing America has done in recent years is massacre the distance of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the 70’s to 10f from 2m and much more recently the CCA Oaks to 10f from 12f.

    There’s nothing wrong with the St. Leger, if the trainers want to run in it they will – I’m sure if you topped the prize money up to 500k they wouldn’t be naffing off to France at first opportunity, remember triple Oaks heroine Ramruma, Milan, Nedawi etc. have run in it in recent years all of whom proved they were at least competitive at G1 level.

    #113249
    Bosranic
    Member
    • Total Posts 1982

    NO it’s not time for a change. We need the distance races, the worst thing America has done in recent years is massacre the distance of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the 70’s to 10f from 2m and much more recently the CCA Oaks to 10f from 12f.

    There’s nothing wrong with the St. Leger, if the trainers want to run in it they will – I’m sure if you topped the prize money up to 500k they wouldn’t be naffing off to France at first opportunity, remember triple Oaks heroine Ramruma, Milan, Nedawi etc. have run in it in recent years all of whom proved they were at least competitive at G1 level.

    Ramruma ran second in…’99 I believe. Milan and Nedawi both won their respective Legers in ’98 and 2001. Any examples within the last few years? Red Rocks ran third last year and went on to win the Breeders Cup Turf – that’s about it.

    #113258
    Sal
    Member
    • Total Posts 562

    Scorpion? He had already proved himself a Gr.1 contender winning the GP de Paris and finishing second to Hurricane Run in the Irish Derby, and subsequently won the Coronation Cup. Not a great St Leger, but a Gr.1 class winner, ditto with Milan.

    More subsequent winners have come from the winners of the St Leger in recent years than the Epsom Derby, that’s for sure!

    If you like your racing at a max of 10f, go to the States.

    #113260
    insomniac
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1453

    Every year at about this time the call for a radical change to the St Leger is made as it becomes apparent that the field for the forthcoming classic looks decidely ropey.
    However, the demise of the race is due to a combination of factors, some already touched here, such as richer more prestigious races coming at this time of year / the emphasis (thanks to the USA) on making 10f the "golden" trip etc. I’m not in favour of a change to the race conditions though.
    Just because 10f may be the trip for which top breeders aim for does not mean though that every 3-y-o+ GP1 should be amended to suit. Neither is there anything to be gained by opening up the St Leger to older horses a la Irish St. Leger. What is needed is a desire by the race planning authorities to encourage and cultivate stamina as a worthy trait in a racehorse and not just speed (with just enough stamina to last out 10f). This would have to be done regardless of what the trend may be elsewhere. Sadly though, there is neither the intent nor the money available to do this. If it was, the following might, eventually bring about a return to top class stayers and stallions being seen as as good as their 10f peers.
    1) Ascot Gold Cup prize money raised to become at least as valuable as any other GP1 in the country.
    2) The Goodwood Cup, Yorkshire Cup, Henry II Stakes upped to GP1 with suitable prize money. Plus a mega-bonus for any horse that won all three in a twelvemonth. (Lower prize for horses placed in all three).
    3) All entry fees returned for horses that ran 3 times or more over 14f + in a season..
    4) More 2-y-o races (with attractive prize money) for horses sired by stallions that won over 12f+
    5) Mega-bonus for any horse that won Chester Cup, Northumberland Plate, Cesarewitch in a twelvemonth. (Lower bonus for a horse placed in all three)
    6) Travel allowance only for horses participating in staying races (or 2-y-o "staying races").
    Just some suggestions; perhaps, given sufficient time this would resurrect the esteem in whicjh stayers are held and return the Leger to a true test for the best of the 3-y-o generation. It requires the will to do it though which I doubt is there. Top owners want to compte internationally these days, so whilst Johnny Foreigner goes on throwing money at lower distance races, then they, sadly, will be the target for our owners and breeders too.

    #113289
    Venusian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1665

    Good post, Insomniac.

    The St Leger should be second only to the Derby in terms of Classic prize money.

    It would be nice if its prestige could also be raised accordingly, but regrettably, the sport is in thrall to speed at the expense of stamina.

    Nothing wrong with 10f horses, or sprinters for that matter, but we need to have variety in our race programme, not to mention in the thoroughbred breed as well.

    And the "Stayers’ Triple Crown" should be one of the big story lines of the Flat season.

    #113293
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    Disagree about the upgrading of all those staying races, this year in particular shows the lack of depth in the staying division.

    In terms of prize money, the Leger is indeed the second most valuable classic and is behind just the Derby, King George and Juddmonte International in terms of value.

    #113299
    AndyRAC
    Participant
    • Total Posts 318

    With the emphasis on speed over stamina by short sighted breeders, where are the future NH horses supposed to come from, if all it is speed, speed ,speed. I can see it now, final cicuit of the Gold Cup and all the horses are legless.
    Agree with a previous post, how come there is only ONE Group 1 race for Stayers in Britain, yet 10f 12f races get a few. It’s a disgrace, yes make the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups Group 1. Off course it won’t happen as the breeders have far too much say.

    #113300
    nitro
    Member
    • Total Posts 100

    There is nothing wrong about the

    #113302
    nitro
    Member
    • Total Posts 100

    Next try: There is nothing wrong about the St. Leger. But I don’t understand why some trainers don’t enter their top horses. Authorized for example. The connections prolly think he needs a break before the Arc. If I was a trainer I would run him in the St. Leger before. It’s a good workout. :wink:

    #113305
    pilgarlic
    Participant
    • Total Posts 586

    I can`t imagine that Doncaster would be seen as a premier venue to hold a top class 10f contest.If your suggestion was taken up and tradition stripped away, why not change the venue too. We`ve come this far without any classic races at 10f but class horses at this distance have plenty of opportunity in high value events.

    The Leger looks poor this year but it can go in cycles – leave well alone I`d have thought.

    #113319
    steveh31
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1922

    Agree things go in cycles at the moment Cheltenham seem to be the in thing, judging by other posts it seems flat is just not "cool" at the moment lots of NH fans on here prove that seems only the Ebor meeting got a good review there were lots of critisisms of Derby, Oaks amongst other this year.

    Eventually people will get tired of the jumps and go back to flat it a pity that Doncaster couldnt get the classic St Leger it needed for the reopening but hopefully the other races on the four days will make up for it.

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