09/14/2002 12:00AM

Bollin Eric wins English St. Leger


Bollin Eric won the English St. Leger at Doncaster and Vinnie Roe the Irish St. Leger at The Curragh on Saturday.

Bollin Eric became the first northern England-trained horse since 1973 to win the Group 1 Rothmans Royals St. Leger over

1 3/4 miles, the only British classic run in the North.

He took the lead with two furlongs to go and then held off the late challenge of Highest by 1 1/2 lengths. Bollin Eric was a 7-1 chance while the favorite, Bandari, who is also trained in the North, was two lengths farther back in third.

Tim Easterby, who trains Bollin Eric at Malton, about 40 miles north of Doncaster, said: "It doesn't always go to plan but it has today and it is like a fairy tale."

A 3-year-old son of Shaamit, Bollin Eric was bred by his owners, Sir Neil and Lady Westbrook.

At The Curragh, Vinnie Roe successfully defended his 2001 title in the Group 1 Jefferson Smurfit Memorial Irish St. Leger, over

1 3/4 miles, justifying his 3-5 favoritism with a 1 1/2-length victory over Pugin. Ballingarry finished third, a length behind Pugin.

Trainer Dermot Weld will now send Vinnie Roe, a 4-year-old Definite Article colt, to Australia for the Melbourne Cup - a race that Weld won in 1993 with Vintage Crop.

"This is a very brave horse, one of the toughest I have trained, and he goes into quarantine on Sunday for the Melbourne Cup," Weld said. "He has the steel to compete in that race but it is a tough assignment as he has top weight."