Mick Kinane won the Leger Legends race on Patriotic in 2012
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 3:49PM 6 SEP 2016
THE Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes, which takes place at 3.35 on the first day of Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger meeting on Wednesday, is a mile charity race for retired stars of the saddle.
First run in 2010, it has raised more than £650,000 for the Northern Racing College and Jack Berry House, a rehabilitation centre for injured riders.
Berry and Professional Jockeys Association executive director Dale Gibson are among the driving forces behind the event and the latter added his name to the race’s roll of honour two years ago when guiding the Les Eyre-trained Bob to victory.
Other winners include 20-time champion jump jockey Tony McCoy, who memorably struck on Gannicus 12 months ago, while Mick Kinane, arguably Ireland’s finest Flat rider, won it on Patriotic in 2012.
Julie Krone, who became the first female rider to win a US Triple Crown when Colonel Affair won the 2000 Belmont, brought an international flavour to Town Moor when winning on Invincible Hero in 2011, while Istabraq’s jockey Charlie Swan won the inaugural running a year earlier.
There are some equally big names in action this year including Joseph O’Brien, son of leading trainer Aidan who won some of the world’s greatest races before retiring from riding last year and taking out his training licence. He rides Phosphorescence for George Scott.
Like O’Brien, Richard Hughes saddles, rather than rides, horses these days.
Champion Flat jockey in Britain from 2012 to 2014, Hughes quit last year and has made a fine start to his new career from his Lambourn base.
O’Brien and Hughes, who partners Bluff Crag, will be fancied given their recent experience and the same can be said of Group 1-winning rider Adrian Nicholls, who stopped riding in May.
He is on Hammer Gun, while fellow three-year-old Hirjan is forecast to start favourite under Gay Kelleway, the only woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot.
Luke Harvey, whose best moment came when he steered Cool Ground to victory in the 1990 Welsh National, makes his sixth appearance in the race and his mount Gun Case should not be discounted with the talented and driven 50-year-old aboard.