Capri heaped misery on the bookies as he toughed it out to win a thrilling renewal of the William Hill St Leger.
The 3-1 favourite held on in the hands of Ryan Moore to fight off the challenges of Crystal Ocean (5-1) and Stradivarius (9-2).
It was a fifth win in the Classic for trainer Aidan O’Brien who said: “Ryan gave him a class ride. He’s a horse with a lot of class and when Ryan really wanted him to he gave it to him. He gave him a great ride.
“He’s probably a mile and a half horse, we saw today that he has a great deal of courage and stamina but also plenty of class.
“He had a blip at York so we were a little bit worried as we thought he would improve a bit from the run. We’d had it in our head that we’d look at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after as he’s in that. But obviously the lads will decide what they want to do.”
Sir Michael Stoute was thrilled with the run of Crystal Ocean in second.
He said: “He ran a great race, we’re thrilled with him. I thought he was going to win but we won’t run him beyond a mile and a half again.
“It was always a danger (that he wouldn’t stay). We saw in those mile and a half races that that’s his trip. It was a lovely ride, I always felt he might win.
“Jim (Crowley) reported that he was always pretty confident on him but he was just outstayed.”
John Gosden saddled Stradivarius to finish third and Coronet who came home fifth.
Gosden said: “It was a proper St Leger, they went a proper gallop. Stradivarius hit the front and then got a bit left on his own, but that’s life.
“He’s run a great race. and the little filly (Coronet) was on the back of Capri but the boys were a little bit strong over the last furlong when they’d gone that pace. It was pretty relentless stuff.
“Stradivarius could run at Ascot (QIPCO Long Distance Cup) as long as the heavens don’t open.”
“It’s been a fantastic first year of our sponsorship of the St Leger Festival,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
“However, we were definitely praying for a different winner of the St. Leger itself. Capri was probably in our top three worst horse racing results all year”
William Hill make Capri 5/1 for next year’s Ascot Gold Cup – and 16/1 for this year’s Arc.
The total attendance at the four day William Hill St Leger Festival was over 60,000.