LOGICIAN maintained his unbeaten record with an emphatic victory in the Group 1 William Hill St Leger Stakes at Doncaster.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori – who was winning the world’s oldest classic for the sixth time – the John Gosden-trained son of Frankel was sent off the red-hot 5/6 favourite, following his most recent victory in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
That win on the Knavesmire last month had come on the back of success in a Newbury handicap, and the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt duly took this step up to the highest level with aplomb.
Nestled towards the rear through the early stages, Dettori took his time before moving sweetly down the Town Moor straight and sweeping to the front when he asked the grey to quicken a fair way out.
Sir Dragonet briefly threatened to make a race of it. But in the end there was only one horse in it, with Dettori able to ease up close home for a two-and-a-quarter length success from Sir Ron Priestley, who ran a big race for Mark Johnston in the hands of Franny Norton.
It was another head back in third to Nayef Road, also trained by Johnston.
Recording his fifth Leger victory, Gosden said: “He took Frankie on early, you could see Frankie’s hands were higher than usual, but he eventually relaxed well.
“He stayed the trip well, which is always a worry, and the fast ground rather than it being testing probably helped him stay the trip and he’s won in a record time with one flick of the stick.
“He’s a mile-and-a-half horse really, but this is a classic and Prince Khalid was keen because he breeds these lovely horses and wanted to win a classic for Frankel – we’ve won him two now as we also won the Oaks for him (with Anapurna).
“The way he quickened with just one flick – he’s a gorgeous horse. I think he’d be better on good ground, rather than good to firm.
“He’ll probably revert to a mile and a half next year. He’s done so much so quickly this year that we’ll put him away now, he won’t run again this season.
“He was held back for some time and I was diligent with him, having not done a lot at two. He’s come a long way in a short period of time.”
Dettori – enjoying another magnificent season and recording his 15th Group 1 victory of the year – said: “The St Leger has been very lucky for me. That’s probably my easiest one (Leger success) – he’s a serious horse.
“I heard the roar, but we get it about five seconds later, so I’d nearly won by then! But it’s brilliant, there’s nearly 30,000 here, he was the hot favourite so hopefully they’ve lumped on.
“It’s been a great year, thankfully I ride for a great trainer who has lots of good horses in good races. We’ve won two classics this year and we’ll enjoy this moment before we get ready for the Arc in three weeks’ time (with Enable).
“John has always been keen on him and I should have known when he made me go to Newbury one evening to ride him in a handicap – I thought it was strange. He showed in the Voltigeur he was a good horse and there’s plenty more to come next year.
“There were no problems today, maybe at the start when he jumped so good and took me on a little bit, but from over two out I knew I’d won.”
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said of the runner-up: “He was entered in the Dante and the King Edward, races like that. We’ve had to take things a bit more gradually, one step at a time, and he’s proven today he’s up to the highest level. He was just beaten by a better horse on the day.
“The other horse (Nayef Road) might have been 40/1, but he was placed in the Queen’s Vase, the Bahrain Trophy and won the Gordon Stakes. York was too sharp for him, he’s better at this kind of distance.
“They’ve both run absolute screamers, in a different year they’d have been first and second, but the winner is very good.”