David Egan, having his first ride in the St Leger on the 9-2 chance Eldar Eldarov, claimed victory in the world’s oldest Classic at Doncaster on Sunday. The triumphant colt was trained by Roger Varian, who also won the race with Kingston Hill in 2014.
The victorious rider dedicated his triumph to Jack de Bromhead, who died last weekend in a riding accident in Ireland and was the 13-year-old son of hugely successful racehorse trainer Henry de Bromhead.
“It’s a week since Jack de Bromhead died and he was the first person I thought of when I crossed the line – that was for him,” said Egan.
The jockey and his mount prevailed in a close fight with Frankie Dettori’s ride Haskoy and the hot favourite New London. Egan explained: “He’s a tough horse and early in the street he got a bump and my momentum went a bit. He got back on course and I always thought he was going to get there. He had excuses last time over a mile and a half on quick ground.”
“It was a terrific performance and it’s great for the team. I have been apprentice since I was 16 with Mr Varian,” added the rider.
The closing stages were rough with Haskoy, who drifted towards the far rail at one stage and impeded Giavellotto, demoted from second to fourth behind the colt whom she interfered with.
The Queen memorably won the Leger with Dunfermline in the Silver Jubilee year of 1977 and the racing at Doncaster yesterday, which was the first to take place since the death of the monarch on Thursday and took place after a two minutes’ silence, was inevitably tinged with sadness.
Dettori, who completed a Group-race double on the day on Kinross in the Park Stakes, returned victorious after the opening race on Chaldean in the Champagne Stakes but there was no trademark flying dismount and the jockey, who rode over 50 winners for the Queen, said: “There is a bit of an empty feeling in the weighing room. I didn’t jump off out of respect. We’re carrying on, but it’s still fresh in the memory. We have to deal with it and we’re going to miss her a lot.”
The influence of the Queen during her reign on horse racing, which was her passion, was immeasurable and the sport is facing up to an uncertain future without her. The Mail on Sunday reported sources were clear that Camilla, the Queen Consort, would be the figurehead in charge of the 24 royal horses in training with the new King expected to order a formal review of the Royal Stud which currently houses 80 brood mares.