Remembering the fillies to achieve St Leger glory
Fillies are often worth paying attention to when drawing up a betting shortlist for the St Leger.
Since 2005, eight females have lined up for the final Classic of the calendar year and half have made the frame (one winner and three places).
This record improves further when looking back over the last three decades. Of the 23 fillies that have taken part in the last 33 runnings of the St Leger, four have won, seven have taken second and a further three have placed third. The strike rate of a female making the frame is marginally better than 60% in this period.
There are eight fillies among the current 42-horse entry list for the 2016 renewal at Doncaster and here we have a look back at the four previous winners they need to be aspiring towards:
The 1983 season was a productive one for Sun Princess as she claimed all of her three career victories, which all also arrived at Group 1 level.
The Yorkshire Oaks sandwiched two Classic successes – the Epsom Oaks, which was achieved by a record margin of 12 lengths, and then the St Leger when sent off as the 11/8 favourite under Willie Carson on unsuitable soft ground.
She then went on to finish second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before struggling to replicate the same level of form as a four-year-old, failing to win another race.
Oh So Sharp
Oh So Sharp had remained unbeaten in three races as a two-year-old and then extended this winning streak to five with victory in a three-way photo in the 1985 1,000 Guineas, which was a first British Classic triumph for now esteemed owner Sheikh Mohammed.
Another six-length success followed in the Epsom Oaks before a pair of seconds heading into the St Leger, which was to be her final race before being sent to stud.
Although her form was clearly declining, Oh So Sharp hung on to win by less than a length.
User Friendly was named the European Horse of the Year for 1992, despite not making her racecourse debut until her three-year-old season.
She went unbeaten in her opening six races, which included four in a row at the top level – the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and then the St Leger. Clive Brittain’s filly was then second in the Arc and sixth in the Japan Cup.
User Friendly returned for a four-year-old campaign but won just once in five starts at Group 1 level, prior to finishing her career briefly in the US.
It was a 13-year wait between the St Leger successes of User Friendly and Simple Verse, who was finally handed the victory after a lengthy steward’s enquiry, in which the filly was initially demoted before having placings reversed again following an appeal.
Simple Verse had been first past the post, but significantly bumped into runner-up Bondi Beach at the business end of the race when looking boxed in on the inside. This clearly impacted the momentum of the second horse.
Ralph Beckett’s filly had initially taken three races to break her maiden tag and only really developed into a top-level contender when stepping out of handicap company to win the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.
Another victory in the Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot closed her three-year-old season, while three runs this campaign as a four-year-old have failed to bring any further triumphs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.