St Leger 2017: Joseph O’Brien targets rare feat with Rekindling


Joseph O’Brien (left) with his father Aidan after winning the Investec Derby on Australia.

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JOSEPH O’Brien bids to become the first horseman for almost 50 years to both ride and train a British St Leger winner when he saddles Rekindling at Doncaster on September 16. 

The former top-flight jockey won the St Leger in 2013 on Leading Light, in a relatively brief but hugely successful career in the saddle that included victories in the Investec Derby on Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014).

The last person to complete the rare feat in the St Leger was Harry Wragg who twice rode the winner of Britain’s oldest Classic (Sandwich 1931 and Herringbone 1943) before training Intermezzo to win in 1969.

O’Brien’s Rekindling has won three of his eight starts that includes two at Group level – the most recent a half-length victory in a Group 2 at the Curragh at his penultimate start in early July.

Rekindling returned to the same course in August for a Group 3 contest where he was beaten into second place by 2016 Ascot Gold Cup winner Order of St George.

O’Brien’s charge is priced at 10-1 for the extended one mile and six furlong contest at Doncaster which has had the prize money boosted to £700,000 by new sponsors William Hill, who have expressed their satisfaction at the high-quality of the remaining 24 entries.

William Hill spokesman, Rupert Adams said“We are very pleased with the entries, clearly it is a very strong and open field.

“Capri has been the long-term favourite but Crystal Ocean has been very well backed since winning at Goodwood and we cannot split the two.”

William Hill, make Aidan O’Brien’s Capri and Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean joint favourites at 4/1. Stradivarius (9-2) is next, then Defoe 7-1; Coronet 8-1; Raheen House, Rekindling 10-1; Benbatl, Count Octave, Venice Beach 20-1; Melodic Motion 25-1; Best Solution, Bin Battuta, Exemplar 33-1; Abyssinian, Douglas, Douglas Macarthur, Horseplay, Spanish Steps 40-1; Air Supremacy, Belgravia, Utah 50/1; Finn McCool, The Anvil 66/1; Squire’s Tale 100/1.

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.