Emotional David Egan wins St Leger aboard Eldar Eldarov

Sun 11 Sep 2022

Eldar Eldarov swooped late to grab Classic glory in the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster.

Trained by Roger Varian and ridden by David Egan, Eldar Eldarov had plenty to do two furlongs from home as Haskoy hit the front, with the 9-2 chance looking for a run in what was something of a messy race.

However, when Eldar Eldarov – winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and fourth last time out in the Grand Prix de Paris – found his path, he picked up in fine fashion for Egan, grabbing the lead inside the final furlong to win going away by two lengths.

Read more: Beckett confirms intention to appeal Haskoy's St Leger demotion

Haskoy, who drifted towards the far rail at one stage and seemingly impeded Giavellotto, kept on for second with 11-8 favourite New London beaten a further half a length in third. Following the race the stewards deemed the interference Haskoy caused to Gaivellotto was serious enough for the filly to be placed fourth behind Marco Botti’s charge, with New London promoted to second.

Eldar Eldarov wins the 2022 St Leger at Doncaster (Pic: Focusonracing)
Eldar Eldarov wins the 2022 St Leger at Doncaster (Pic: Focusonracing)

Varian – winning the race for the second time after Kingston Hill in 2014 – said: “I quietly thought he had a real big shout today.

“Not everybody was wowed by his run in France last time out, but the winner (Onesto) went and pushed Luxembourg all the way in the Irish Champion Stakes.

“He had a tough race that day which is why he didn’t run again and he was only just getting going at the line in France. His run at Royal Ascot showed he had stamina in abundance and that race is proving a good trial for the Leger. He’s also handled soft ground as a two-year-old.

“So I knew he’d stay and handle the ground, it was whether he was good enough.

“Sometimes the longer you do something the harder things get, so it gets more satisfying. I think we’d only been training three or four years when Kingston Hill won the Leger so this is a very sweet success.

“I think we see him as a Cup horse next season, he’s blessed with stamina and has an admirable attitude. We brought him back to a mile and a half in France and he was only just getting going at the finish.

“If he stays sound we could have him for the next two, three or four years. I think he’s very exciting.

“I’m delighted for David, you won’t meet a nicer guy, he’s genuine, hard working and gracious in defeat while not being obnoxious in victory.”

David Egan celebrates St Leger glory at Doncaster (Pic Focusonracing)
David Egan celebrates St Leger glory at Doncaster (Pic Focusonracing)

On the 45th anniversary of the Queen winning the race with Dunfermline and just days after her death, Varian added: “The whole nation is saddened by the loss of the Queen, everyone in racing has been hit hard as we’ve lost our patron really.

“We’re grateful racing went ahead today, I think it’s what she would have wanted. The royal family is grieving and our thoughts are with them.”

Egan was winning his first Classic – and was left “gobsmacked”.

He said: “I was in the position I wanted to be, but I got a bump early in the straight. That almost helped me, though, as it woke him up, he wasn’t taking me into the race given how well he’d travelled throughout.

“He’s going to be a proper stayer. Ease in the ground helped and he hit the line really strong. It’s fantastic, a Classic, I’m gobsmacked, I don’t know what’s going on!

“I got a lovely clean run after that little bump and I was away from the trouble on the inside. It was straightforward – what a horse, he’s done nothing wrong, he just wasn’t suited to a mile and a half on quick ground in France but Onesto won and look how well he ran in Ireland.

“I lost the ride on Mishriff this year, but winning a Classic is something special.

“It’s a week since Jack de Bromhead passed away and he was who I thought about crossing the line. It’s been a sad week with Her Majesty dying.”

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