The Betfred November Handicap on 5th November, the last big race of the British Flat season, brings down the curtain on another memorable year on Town Moor writes At The Races presenter Simon Mapletoft. The highlight was most definitely the fairytale victory of outsider HARBOUR LAW in the world’s oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger in September. Harbour Law, from a small stable in Epsom, proved that David could indeed conquer Goliath when gunning down his better fancied contenders for an emotional Laura Mongan. The colt stays in training next year with the Ascot Gold Cup and the Group Two Doncaster Cup high on his agenda.
Yorkshireman William Haggas loves to saddle big winners in his home county and the Newmarket trainer pulled off a rare double when RIVET – co-owned by the legendary Lester Piggott – completed the Champagne Stakes and Racing Post Trophy double. Italian ace Andrea Atzeni secured a remarkable fourth consecutive win in the latter, the season’s final domestic Group One, to set up Rivet for a crack at next spring’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Whilst his success in the Champagne Stakes was one highlight of the St Leger Festival,
SHEIKHZAYEDROAD produced another by clawing a dramatic victory in the 250th running of the Doncaster Cup. David Simcock’s globetrotter got up late to deny the front-running Quest For More and went on to pay a handsome compliment to the great race by adding the Champions’ Day stayers’ crown to his CV.
John Gosden and Frankie Dettori are no strangers to success on Town Moor, whether together or individually, and combined to land the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes with the resurgent Royal Ascot winner ARDAD. That form also turned out to be of high quality as runner-up The Last Lion, who began his long campaign by winning the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster in the spring, went on to land the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
However, there was no more popular a winner than Ralph Beckett’s SIMPLE VERSE who powered home in the Fillies’ St Leger, the Group Two Park Hill Stakes, to supplement her victory in last season’s Ladbrokes St Leger when she became the first filly to win the race since User Friendly in 1992. Simple Verse also gave the Doncaster form a boost when she finished a highly respectable third to Sheikhzayedroad on Champions’ Day.
As is tradition, the British Flat Season got underway with the Betway Lincoln Handicap in early April which went to Godolphin’s SECRET BRIEF. Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old wasn’t able to build on that success in two subsequent starts but runner-up BRAVO ZOLO proved a great advertisement for the race, winning a Listed race at Chantilly in October.
The Listed Cammidge Trophy on the opening day was won by subsequent Curragh Group Two winner MOBSTA, with tonight’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint contender SUEDOIS second for David O’Meara en route to a series of big runs at the highest level in the Diamond Jubilee, July Cup and Haydock’s Group One dash.