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St Leger - The Oldest Classic

The St Leger is the oldest classic, first run in the earliest days of the seventeenth century at Doncaster in Yorkshire.

Racing had previously taken place on the Town Moor, it was not until 1776 the Doncaster Corporation built a grandstand for the aristocratic spectators, including the Marquis of Rockingham and Lieutenant –General Anthony St Leger, both of whom were patrons of the Doncaster Racecourse.

The St Leger, the Derby and the Oaks, are known as the classics, exclusive races confined to three year olds, basically following the traditions from the United Kingdom, a filly could become a triple classic winner but a colt could only become a dual classic winner, as the Oaks is confined to fillies only.

When Australia adopted the three classics system, I’m sure it was never intended that the six states would run the three classics on a regular basis each.

Some of the states have since discontinued the St Leger; it was becoming a nuisance value and nothing more than a match race in some instances.

St Leger was introduced by Victoria Racing Club, the ruling body of racing, during the four days of its autumn carnival.

At that time it was a forgone conclusion that the Derby winner of the spring would contest the St Leger.

However, that has all gone hocus pocus now since the Australian Jockey Club decided to run their Derby in the autumn, there was no option but to run the St Leger on Anzac Day, it is now a better betting medium but not necessarily for what was originally intended.  

There is no cohesion between Melbourne and Sydney, which is a great shame that we cannot see eye to eye between the two states; it is only an hour’s flight on a plane.

At least we can run two successful carnivals, spring and autumn, while Sydney can only muster one carnival. .

 

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