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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Defoe denied at St Leger as Capri caps superb day out for Moore-O'Brien pair

Victory marked Moore’s first win at St Leger and O’Brien’s fifth in action-packed race that saw valiant effort from Sheikh Obaid's horse.

Ryan Moore rides Capri, centre, to victory at St Leger. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Ryan Moore rides Capri, centre, to victory at St Leger. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien, the successful jockey-trainer pair, got another Group 1 prize in the bag after Capri won the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

The victory marked Moore’s first at the St Leger – the final English Classic of the season – and O’Brien’s fifth in an action-packed race.

The Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean under the British champion jockey Jim Crowley was half-a-length in second, while John Gosden’s Stradivarius ridden by James Doyle was a short head in third.

Race as it happened

O’Brien’s quartet occupied the first four places with Michael Hussey on Anvil opening up a 12-length lead until the halfway mark of the 2,900-metre trip in the 11-runner field.

Stradivarius came through to take the lead at the 800m mark with Capri moving up to challenge and looked to have Doyle’s horse beaten.

Crowley on Crystal Ocean produced a late challenge but Moore found plenty on Capri to hold on the lead.

“He's a horse with a lot of class,” O’Brien said of the grey colt by Galileo who came into the race having won the Irish Derby two months ago.

“When Ryan really wanted him to, he gave it to him. Braveness is a big thing with him. He's got courage and stamina. And Ryan gave him a class ride.”

O'Brien has now won four of the five British Classics and four of the five Irish Classics in 2017.

Had it not been for Gosden’s Enable, the dual winner of the Oaks, it would have been 10 out of 10 for the Ballydoyle trainer.

Moore had ridden Capri only once in his previous nine starts when he won the Group 2 Beresford at the Curragh in September last year.

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“He's a very good horse, very honest,” the three-time British champion jockey said. “He fought very hard. It was a very good performance in a very good Leger. I think in normal years the first three would have all been worthy winners. But Capri's an Irish Derby winner and the form of that win looked good.”

O’Brien added: “Seamus [Heffernan] rides him at home, in a lot of his work and races and he’s always believed in this horse and how much class he has.

“It was a great performance and it all went well. We thought Capri would actually improve for this race and the Arc [Prix de l'arc de Triomphe in France on October 1] is something we’ll think about for him, but the lads will make that decision.”

Defoe, carrying the hopes of Dubai owner Sheikh Obaid Al Maktoum, tried to create a challenge from the outside after held up at the rear, but quickly faded, to finish only ahead of the O’Brien’s pacemaker Anvil.