Capri showed he was all class as he held off the late challenges of Crystal Ocean and Stradivairus to take glory under a superb Ryan Moore ride
FEW riders will look more uncomfortable posing for the snappers sporting the traditional St Leger flat cap.
But even Ryan Moore’s usual poker face could not help breaking into a smile as he enjoyed his first-ever success in the final Classic of the season.
Moore was aboard the Aidan O’Brien-trained Capri, who motored home in a thrilling finish from Crystal Ocean with Stradivarius in third.
The rider, widely considered the best in the world, showed off all his tactical skill and strength for the half-length success.
Then he showed off the dogged determination that is the mark of a true great.
When asked what it meant to finally win the Doncaster Classic he replied: “Well, it means you have to win it again, really.”
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Capri was making his first start since winning the Irish Derby in early July.
Sent off the 3-1 favourite, he was always going well and stayed on gamely to hold off Sir Michael Stoute’s challenger.
Moore said: “When Crystal Ocean came to him, he dug in. He has done very little wrong in his career and has progressed.
“It was a hard race, but he didn’t look like a horse who’d had a hard race.
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“It was a very good Leger. In normal years the first three would be worthy winners.
“Every horse had every chance, but he fought them off and was the best horse.”
The winning trainer added: “Ryan gave him a class ride. He’s a horse with a lot of class and when Ryan really wanted him to he gave it to him. He gave him a great ride.
“He’s probably a mile-and-a-half horse but we saw today that he has a great deal of courage and stamina.
“We had it in our head that we’d look at the Arc as he’s in that. But the ‘Lads’ will decide what they want to do.”
On a memorable day for the O’Brien family, son Donnacha partnered the trainer’s Seahenge to victory in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes.
Bookies make him as short as 20-1 for the 2,000 Guineas after his neck defeat of the gutsy Hey Gaman, with Mythical Magic in third.
O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with him. He did well to win that.
“He’s a fine horse, a high quality horse to do that. He won first time out and few of ours have been doing that.”