Continuous rates Arc possible after St Leger triumph

Sat 16 Sep 2023
 (Photo: Dan Abraham /
(Photo: Dan Abraham /

FULL RESULT: Betfred St Leger

Continuous added to Aidan O’Brien’s Classic haul with a clinical triumph in the Betfred St Leger at Doncaster - with the master trainer not discounting a trip to Paris for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triopmhe in just 15 days' time.

On a day when a first Classic winner in the royal silks since 1977 was a real possibility, it was racing royalty that came to the fore as O’Brien won the showpiece event for the seventh time with the 3-1 second-favourite striking in the hands of Ryan Moore.

The Ballydoyle runner had marked himself out as a prime contender for the final Classic of the season with victory in the Great Voltigeur at York and franked that form in supreme style on Town Moor.

With stablemate Denmark setting the pace from Gregory, Moore was at pains to bide his time aboard Continuous alongside Desert Hero towards the rear of midfield.

But on turning for home Continuous showed his class up the long, stamina-sapping Doncaster straight, working his way to the front two furlongs from home and surging clear to register a two-and-three-quarter-length success over 11-4 favourite Arrest, who was ridden by Frankie Dettori in his final Classic.

Desert Hero ran with huge credit in third for the King and Queen, who were on course to watch the William Haggas-trained colt.

Arc next for Continuous?

 (Photo: Mark Cranham /
(Photo: Mark Cranham /

O’Brien said: “He got the distance very well in York and we were not sure about the distance but he has got it well again.

“There are a lot of possibilities and it will be down to the lads, the Arc is in two weeks and is a possibility, but we’ll talk to Ryan and see what they want to do.

“He’s a lot of class this horse this horse and he does stay and he does handle soft ground. There is every chance he could, he’s a hardy horse and he could back up in two weeks.

“The lads will decide that, but I would say there is a chance.”

O'Brien hails Dettori on his final Classic

 (Copyright: HEALY RACING)
(Copyright: HEALY RACING)

He added: “It’s so special that the King and Queen were here, you could see the buzz around the parade ring and the passion from the crowd.

“Frankie is another who is special, he has been unbelievable. He’s beaten us in so many races I cannot tell you and I can’t wait until he retires! He’s the most unbelievable rider we’ve ever seen and a great fellow too, a very kind man, he always wants good for everybody, there’s no side to Frankie.

“He’s always worked very hard all his career and he always does his best. It’s not like when he retires he’s not going to go racing, but he’s always been great friends with us. He’s ridden a lot of big winners for us but he’s beaten us more than he’s won for us!

“He used to ride out at Ballydoyle and I always remember him riding Australia when he was a two-year-old and he told us in the March I think it was that he was going to be very special.”

Winning his third Leger, Moore said he was always happy with the way Continuous was travelling: “Over these trips you want the horse to be taking you and I knew a long way out he was going well.

Moore always in control

 (Photo: Mark Cranham /
(Photo: Mark Cranham /

"Hes a horse I've always liked," said the winning rider.

"He took a while to come to hand this year but he had a very good run at Ascot and won the Voltigeur well.

we went stready today and he had the best turn of foot. he quicked up well and he's got a really good attitude - he kept going and ever faltered at all."

The jockey added to Sky Sports Racing: "He's by Heart's Cry - we don't have many in this part of the world - andhe's th eonly horse to beat Deep Impact in Japan I think so he's a very good horse.

"Continuous has just got better through the year and it's beginning to happen now."

Not to be for Dettori on final Classic ride

 Pic Dan Abraham- (
Pic Dan Abraham- (

Frankie picked the right horse from the Gosden stable in choosing the eventual well-backed favourite Arrest, but the legendary jockey ultimately had no answer to the surge of Continuous yet still appreciated the occasion and "a good day" on Town Moor in the aftermath.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, Dettori said: "The race went exactly like I thought and I had a good spot. He was a little bit on the bridle in the first part of the race but we didn't go over fast and I got him in a good rhythm and I came good at the three [-furlong marker].

"I got a bit excited when I went past Gregory and on my second glance I saw Ryan going twice as fast! I thought 'let's guard second place' and in fairness the horse was tired but he got me there in the end."

On the scenes at the track, the rider added: "Unbelievable.

"I got a reception like I was Ronaldo going into the paddock. Having the King and Queen here is fantastic and I don't think I've seen Doncaster this packed; a great atmosphere and it's been a good day."

On his association with the race, Dettori said: "It's been a race that's been very kind to me.

"I think I've ridden winners for five different trainers - [Aidan] O'Brien, Saeed [bin Suroor], [Jeremy] Noseda, John [Gosden] and Sir Michael Stoute. It's been a variety and it's a fabulous race, one of the oldest Classic and I think today lived up to the billing."

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