Hurricane Lane outclasses field to win Cazoo St Leger
Hurricane Lane ran out a deeply impressive winner of the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster.
Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris winner was sent off the 8-11 favourite on his step up to an extended mile and three-quarters on Town Moor.
Ridden with restraint through the early stages as Hollie Doyle and Interpretation set a fair gallop, Hurricane Lane was clearly travelling with ease at the top of the straight.
Mojo Star was the first to go for home, but Buick had the move covered and Hurricane Lane lengthened and soon grabbed the lead.
His change of gear proved decisive as he stretched clear in the final furlong to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
Mojo Star was second – as he was in the Derby when Hurricane Lane was third – with The Mediterranean third.
Buick said: “He’s a jockey’s dream, he’s a lovely horse to ride – you can put him anywhere in the race and he relaxes which is obviously vital in a race over this distance.
“What’s impressed me in his last two or three runs is that he quickens towards the end, he really did put the race to bed then. He’s a fantastic horse and I’m sure there’s more room for improvement.
“We had a lot of confidence in him. He was giving all the right signs coming into the race.
“It’s fantastic (to win the race). These horses, they need to be cherished while they’re around.”
Buick added: “We went just a steady gallop, not a mad gallop, nice and even, the field was compact.
“It was very smooth, I was where I wanted to be throughout really.”
The rider could now face a tough choice if both Hurricane Lane and Derby hero Adayar both line up in next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Paris Longchamp.
Buick said: “Obviously one has just crossed the line so I won’t be rushing into a decision and we’ll have to see how he comes back first.
“This lad has only lost one race in his life and Adayar has won the Derby and King George.”
Appleby was delighted to win a first Leger, which is the oldest British Classic having first been run in 1776.
He said: “It was a fantastic performance. Congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin. It’s great to win any Classic but to win the final Classic, it’s historic, so it’s extra special.
“William said it was a dream race. He had the perfect pitch and all the room he needed and the great thing about this horse is he quickens. He’s got a gear change. You couldn’t have been more comfortable watching it all the way round.
“The ground isn’t key to him, but he is more comfortable under these conditions on the slower side.
“I thought it was a great performance and Derby form was franked as well with Mojo Star running a great race. It’s got strength in depth which is what we want to see in a Classic.
“This horse has given us a couple of days where he has challenged us. He’s a boy. He likes to do things his own way in the mornings sometimes.
“He takes a bit of managing just to get his shoes on in a morning.”
Appleby is unsure on his Arc plans at present, but a trip to France is certainly not off the table.
He added: “The Arc is on everybody’s mind. I’ve spoken to His Highness. Everyone is delighted and I think it is something we will keep an eye on, but let the dust settle. I see no reason why we wouldn’t potentially turn up.
“As for next year with him and (Derby winner) Adayar, that is for everyone to talk about towards the end of the season after the Arc.
“His Highness is such a great sporting man and he loves to see his horses stay in training. We have seen so many of the greats from Godolphin down the years and I’m just fortunate I’m bringing a couple of them along myself.”
Richard Hannon has his sights set on a staying campaign next year for Mojo Star.
He said: “He’s such a lovely horse and to finish second again is the worst feeling.
“He’ll only get better as he goes further and he stays in training next year.
“Once we get past the original disappointment of finishing second, we’ll take it all in.
“He’ll get two and a half miles next season no problem, so Ascot will be the plan.
“He stays strongly, but he’s got a touch of class and he’s proved his Irish Derby run to be all wrong, when he nearly got knocked over.”