The St. James's Palace Stakes is a part of the magnificent Royal Ascot Festival held every year in June. The Festival itself includes seven Group 1 races. The St. James is one of the opening events of the first day and is preceded by both the Queen Anne Stakes and King's Stand Stakes.
As Doncaster Racecourse has been holding regular race meetings since the 16th century, it comes as no surprise that it is now home to one of the most exciting racing festivals of the year. The St. Leger Festival, sponsored by Ladbrokes, features prestigious events with four days of racing action in September crowned by the St. Leger Stakes which is arguably Doncaster's signature event. This flat race is open to both colts and fillies 3 years of age and, along with the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, forms the Triple Crown.
The St. Leger is open to both Group 1 colts and fillies that are 3 years of age. Run on the famous Doncaster Racecourse, the thoroughbreds must dash across 1 mile, 6 furlongs, and 132 yards of turf while carrying at least 9 st-1lb (colts) or 8st-12lbs (fillies). The track is left-handed, so a thoroughbred with a natural inclination to turn left could be an advantage.
Location: Doncaster Racecourse
Grade: Fillies and Colts Group 1
Race Type: Flat race
The main feature of the St. Leger Festival is undoubtedly the St. Leger Stakes. The race doesn't only crown the final day of this four-day extravaganza, it is also the final missing piece of the English Triple Crown (preceded by the 2,000 Guineas Stakes and the Epsom Derby). Many world class contenders compete in this event.
Historically, this is the first English Classic race to be established in 1776 by its namesake Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St. Leger. Since its first running, won by Allabaculia, it has been held on 241 occasions and become a fixture in traditional British horseracing mimicked by other countries throughout the world. Some other variations include the Australian Victoria St. Leger, New Zealand St. Leger and Irish St. Leger.
Have a look at these record-setting champions since the race's genesis in 1776 (as of 2017) .
John Scott remains unchallenged as the all-time best trainer with 16 winners from Matilda in 1827 to the Marquis in 1862.
In more modern times, both trainers Aidan O’Brien and Saeed bin Suroor have dominated the race with 5 wins each.
The fastest thoroughbred to run the St. Leger Stakes was Masked Marvel with a time of 3 minutes and 00.44 seconds in 2011.
The jockey with the most wins of all time is William 'Bill' Scott whose record of 9 victories has remained unchallenged since his glory days from 1821 to 1846.
In modern times, jockey Lester Piggott came close to breaking that record with 8 wins from 1960 to 1984.
The thoroughbred to win the St. Leger with the longest odds of any British Flat horserace to date of 200 to 1 was a colt named Theodore in 1822.
The St. Leger is unique amongst the British Classics as it plays an integral part in both the Triple Crown and more unofficial 'Fillies Triple Crown.' These colts and fillies bested the field and rose to the top. As the St. Leger is the last and longest race to be won for each Triple Crown, there are few English Classic winners that have been able to accomplish winning either (as of 2017).
There are 15 Triple Crown winners (all colts) from 1853 to 1970. Listed from the first to last winners, these include: West Australian, Gladiateur, Lord Lyon, Ormonde, Common, Isinglass, Galtee More, Flying Fox, Diamond Jubilee, Rock Sand, Pommern, Gay Crusader, Gainsborough, Bahram, and Nijinsky.
To win the Fillies Triple Crown, a thoroughbred filly must win the St. Leger, Oaks, and 1000 Guineas. To date, there are only 9 winners from 1868 to 1985. Listed in order of first to last winners, these include: Formosa, Hannah, Apology, La Fleche, Sceptre, Pretty Polly, Sun Chariot, Meld, and Oh So Sharp.