THE 10th running of the popular Leger Legends race – run at Doncaster on the opening day of the St Leger festival – will feature a new benefactor this September.
It comes after County Durham-based Elwick Stud, who stand dual Grade One-winner Mondialiste, agreed to become the headline sponsor of the race for retired riders in succession to long-time supporter Clipper Logistics.
The horse, trained near York by David O’Meara, ran in the colours of Sandra Turnbull and her husband Geoff, who praised the race for raising money in aid of Northern Racing College and Jack Berry House, the injured Jockeys Fund rehab centre at Malton.
“This year’s running is to be The Mondialiste Leger Legends Stakes, which is very fitting as Doncaster was the first racecourse he carried our colours,” he added.
“We are thrilled with how he has settled in to the next chapter of his career as a stallion; he now has his first foals on the ground and they are proving extremely exciting.”
Sired by the legendary Galileo, Mondialiste won two Group One races – the Woodbine Mile in Toronto and Chicago’s Arlington Million – in a distinguished career for O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope.
This winter the Turnbulls have seen their colours carried to success by the Jedd O’Keeffe-trained Lord Yeats over hurdles.
Gordon Elliott feels he has “nothing to lose” by giving star mare Apple’s Jade a shot in today’s Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown – one of the highlights of the two-day Dublin racing Festival.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned seven-year-old has enjoyed a faultless season so far, culminating with a dominant display in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown where this weekend’s action is taking place. She is dropping from three to two miles – her first start over the minimum distance since being touched off by Irving in the 2016 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle – but is a hot favourite to claim her 14th victory from 20 career starts.
Elliott said: “If it doesn’t work she’s more than likely going to go for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.”
Willie Mullins will rely on last year’s winner Min to provide him with a second victory in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.
He faces a two-strong British challenge from the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned and Harry Whittington’s rising star Saint Calvados, who was last seen chasing home Altior and Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
Whittington said: “He’s all set to go.
“It looks a tough contest, but we’re happy with our horse and with his rating these are the kind of races he needs to run in. It’s a left-handed track on better ground, which we now think suits him better.”
Officials at Leopardstown are hopeful its premier jumps meeting will beat the weather. Meetings at Wetherby and Musselburgh have been called off, but no inspection is planned for today’s card at Sandown.