By Simon Jackson.
Kingston Hill is best priced at 12-1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next month after landing the £650,000 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.
The one and a quarter length victory secured the first Classic success for trainer Roger Varian and rider Andrea Atzeni. The win proved just reward in an often frustrating season for this year’s Investec Derby runner-up, who had been forced to miss the Irish Derby and the Great Voltigeur due to firm ground after finishing second to Australia at Epsom.
The son of Mastercraftsman was always travelling well at his first attempt at the extended 14 furlongs of the St Leger, racing towards the rear of the field before improving to take it up inside the furlong and finish ahead of Romsdal with Snow Sky third.
“I can’t put it into words. It’s brilliant, it’s a relief and exciting,” Varian said on his website. “It’s an exciting thing to win a Classic and it’s what we’re all in it for.
“It’s great for the horse. We’ve had a bit of heartache with him through the year. He came good on the day and Andrea gave him a brilliant ride.
“The plan was always to come with a long run down the outside as he’s not a horse who quickens instantly.
“He’s got a big, long stride and a long straight like this is ideal. I was a bit worried three out as I thought we might have a bit too much ground to cover, but he’s stayed on well and shown his class.
“I’m delighted for the horse to win a Group 1 this year. He looked a Classic horse at the start of the year and he’s won a Classic.”
Atzeni added: “I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream really. It’s unbelievable. I rode him like the best horse in the race, he travelled beautifully. He’s so laid-back, he goes to sleep. When I pulled him out he was always going to get there. He was just wandering about when he hit the front.”
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