Capri’s double act
First horse since the great Nijinsky to win both the Irish Derby & St Leger
Capri delivered jockey Ryan Moore his first English St Leger yesterday to become the first horse since the legendary Nijinsky in 1970 to achieve the Irish Derby/St Leger double.
Moore – who was also completing a full house of English classic victories – prevailed on the favourite to give master Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien his fifth success in the oldest classic race.
Capri and Moore showed great resilience as they had to battle almost the whole way down the straight, first against the heavily backed Stradivarius, and then the fast-finishing Crystal Ocean.
Champion jockey Jim Crowley looked to have timed his challenge on Crystal Ocean perfectly just as Moore had seen off Stradivarius, but Capri found the reserves to hold off the five-to-one shot and deny venerable trainer Michael Stoute a second success in the race.
“He is a very good horse and very honest,” Moore told ITV.
“He dug in and fought very hard. He has done very little wrong in his career.”
Asked about completing the classic full house, Moore responded dryly: “I guess I’ll have to do it all over again.”
Capri is narrowing for adding Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next month — though that proved beyond even Nijinsky, who finished second in the 1970 edition weeks after his exertions in the St Leger.
“Ryan gave him a class ride,” O’Brien told ITV.
“I can’t tell you how delighted we are. Capri has a lot of class and is hugely brave.”
In other racing news, Spring Loaded fairly bolted to victory for trainer Paul d’Arcy and jockey Joey Haynes in the William Hill Portland Handicap at Doncaster yesterday.
The five-year-old drew right away form his 21 rivals in the final furlong to turn the highly-competitive five-and-a-half-furlong heat into a procession.
the field split into two groups, the near side clearly held sway from some way out and it was Spring Loaded who produced a decisive turn of foot to put the race to bed.
Vibrant Chords, the favourite, stayed on well for second but was beaten three and a half lengths, with Just another bottle another three-quarters of a length away in third and Lexington Abbey a length further back in fourth.
Haynes was celebrating his biggest career success to date, and said: “I’m absolutely delighted, a big thank you to Mr d’Arcy and the owners for letting me ride him, it’s brilliant.
“We knew there would be a lot of pace on and it was always going to suit him. As soon as I asked him, he picked up. It felt good.”
“Capri has a lot of class and is hugely brave”
In famous footsteps: Capri (grey, centre) is the first horse to achieve the Irish Derby/St Leger double since 1970.