09/14/2013 11:20AM

Doncaster: Leading Light strong in St. Leger marathon


Aidan and Joseph O’Brien and the Coolmore group behind them were denied an English Triple Crown when Encke handed Camelot a surprise defeat last year in the Leger Stakes, but with less on the line the same connections won the 2013 St. Leger with Leading Light on Saturday at Doncaster in England.

Leading Light, racing close to the front, scored a decisive 1 1/2-length victory over the filly Talent in the Group 1 race for 3-year-old stayers. The victory was trainer Aidan O’Brien’s fourth in the St. Leger but first since Scorpion won in 2005, while jockey Joseph O’Brien won the race for the first time.

By Montjeu and out of the Gone West mare Dance Parade, Leading Light has developed steadily through his 3-year-old season, and victory Saturday made him 4 for 4 on the year. The St. Leger was Leading Light’s first try at the Group 1 level, coming after he had captured a pair of Group 3 stakes in Ireland and England. The colt now has won five of his six starts.

That Leading Light would stay the one mile six and one-half furlongs of the St. Leger already had been answered: In his previous start he won the two-mile Queens’ Vase at Ascot. O’Brien kept him within striking distance from the start on Saturday, and when Leading Light seized the lead about two and one-half furlongs from home, he never looked back.

Talent held second by three-quarters of a length over Galileo Rock, with Libertarian a close fourth. Winning time over good-to-soft going was 3:09.20. The St. Leger was worth about $540,265.

O’Brien mentioned the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a possible next start for Leading Light, though that race would be a major step up in class for the improving colt.