Keep age limit in place, urges legend Piggott

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EIGHT-TIMES St Leger-winning jockey Lester Piggott feels Storm The Stars will be “hard to beat” in today’s big race.

Trained by his daughter Maureen and her husband William Haggas, Piggott said: “He should stay and I think the extra trip should suit him, really. I think he’ll be hard to beat.”

Guest of honour at the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Piggott does not want to see the historic event changed in any way despite this year’s renewal attracting seven runners following the defection of Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George.

Restricted to three-year-olds, one idea is to follow Ireland’s example and open the race up to older horses – retired footballer Michael Owen’s Brown Panther, now a veteran seven-year-old, defends the Irish St Leger tomorrow.

“The Leger should be left alone, it usually gets plenty of runners,” he said. “It wouldn’t be the St Leger if they opened it up to older horses. How could you have a Triple Crown if you changed it, the reason people hold the Triple Crown in such regard is because it is so hard to win. If they make any changes it wouldn’t be the same, would it?”

Piggott’s name will forever be linked with iconic names such as Sir Ivor and 1970 Triple Crown winner Nijinksy, who in their pomp danced every dance, but he fully understands the commercial concerns that lead to champion horses being campaigned more sparingly today.

“With the good horses today, they are worth so much they have to look after them,” he said. “ Nobody wants to get beaten, that’s what it boils down to. It’s all commercial, but they have to be thinking that way. If you have an exceptional horse you don’t want him to get beaten too many times because it will cost you money.”