The Godolphin team continued its winning hot streak as Mastery overpowered stablemate Kite Wood in the closing strides to take the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I) at Doncaster Sept. 12.
The victory provided Godolphin with its first British group I win of the season. It was also the first victory for the operation in a British classic since Rule of Law captured the St. Leger five years ago.
Mastery, who won the Derby Italiano (Ity-II) earlier this season, was considered the "second string" behind Kite Wood, who went off as the race favorite. Settled into third by jockey Ted Durcan, Mastery followed the early pace set by longshot Von Jawlensky. Kite Wood, ridden by Frankie Dettori, tracked in second, while Changingoftheguard ran in fourth.
As the field entered the home straight of the 14-furlong marathon, Kite Wood took over from a tiring Von Jawlensky and began to pull away. Durcan had Mastery in a full drive however, and the pair drew upon equal terms with Kite Wood entering the final furlong.
The Godolphin pair battled to the wire, with Mastery finally gaining the advantage in the last strides, winning by three-quarters of a length. Monitor Closely held off Father Time for third, another 1 3/4 lengths further back.
Final time for the 14 furlongs was 3:04.81 over the good to firm course.
Durcan, a longtime member of the Godolphin team, gave full credit to the entire crew after the race, stating, “The whole operation has looked after and been a great help to me over the years.”
“Sheikh Mohammed, (his son) Sheikh Rashid and everyone has been a huge help to me,” he continued. “To be able to win a St. Leger for them is just great. It’s for the whole operation, for everyone involved.”
Mastery is a 3-year-old colt by Sulamani, who won the Arlington Million (gr. IT) and the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) when racing for Godolphin.
Moyesii, the dam of Mastery, has also produced champion Kirklees, winner of the Gran Criterium (Ity-I) as a 2-year-old. Kirklees most recently captured the totesport.com September Stakes (Eng-III) on Sept. 5.