Tomorrow’s opening day of the 2014 Ladbrokes St Leger meeting may be lacking in the quality normally associated with a top festival but the Doncaster racecourse are awarded ten out of ten for novelty value with the staging of the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes at 3.35. The one mile charity contest has raised a noteworthy £450,000 since 2010 for the Northern Racing College and Jack Berry House and once again some big names from the sport come out of retirement, including several riders who can boast victories in many of horseracing’s greatest races.
Jim Culloty, Best Mate’s winning jockey in the Cheltenham Gold Cup ( 2002 – 2003 – 2004 ) is joined by Carl Llewellyn who boasts two Grand National victories aboard Party Politics and Earth Summit while Billy Newnes, Willie Ryan, Michael Hills, George Duffield and Kevin Ryan have all at least one Classic victory to their name. Kelly Harrison and Gay Kellaway will represent the fairer sex with the latter ( the only female jockey to ride a winner at Royal Ascot when partnering Sprowston Boy to victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes ) is determined to go one better than when caught in the final strides of last years race won by Willie Supple and Dana’s Present.
The fifty-year-old Kellaway rides her own horse Harry Bosch and has been preparing for the contest by riding finishes on the arm of her sofa in an effort to outride her 15 rivals, a prospect she faces with just a touch of trepidation, saying: ” I couldn’t get out of riding in the race again as I’m on the committee, so I’ve tried to find a horse who I don’t have to push for more than 100 yards. I bought Harry Bosch off Brian Meehan and Hayley Turner has won on him. He’ll give me a good ride, although whether he’s the best in the race, I don’t know.”
Whatever the result of tomorrow’s race it is unlikely to produce as close a finish as 12 months ago when the first three home were covered by a nose and a dead-heat.