Conduit Channels Victory in St. Leger
Photo: Trevor Jones
No one's gaining on Conduit in the St. Leger.
Sir Michael Stoute had won every other British classic at least twice, but a victory in the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) had always eluded him.  After 34 years of training, that omission from his resume was corrected when Frankie Dettori guided 8-1 shot Conduit to a comfortable three length win at Doncaster Sept. 13.

First contested in 1776, the St. Leger is the world’s oldest classic race.  In 25 previous attempts, Stoute trainees had finished second five times.  Three of those were for longtime client, Ballymacoll Stud, owner of Conduit.

A field of 14 went to the post for the St. Leger, the largest assembled since 1982.  There was quality as well as quantity in the field, with Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Frozen Fire and Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) heroine Look Here in the line up. 

Trainer Aidan O’Brien sent forth a quintet of runners, with Hindu Kush, Washington Irving, Alessandro Volta and Bashkirov joining Frozen Fire, who went off as the race favorite.

Dettori settled Conduit near the rear of the pack as longshots Maidstone Mixture, Warringah, and Hindu Kush battled for the early lead in the 1 3/4-mile marathon.  Maidstone Mixture soon dropped out, but Hindu Kush and Warringah continued to show the way as the field entered the home straight.

Conduit was traveling smoothly in seventh as the field entered the straightaway, and quickly made the lead with two furlongs left.  Fillies Unsung Heroine and Look Here both made strong moves and looked to challenge Conduit, but neither could make much of a dent into Conduit’s lead.

Under a strong drive by Dettori, Conduit prevailed by three lengths over Unsung Heroine.  Look Here held on for third, another 3 1/4-lengths further back.  Hindu Kush re-rallied in the final yards to capture fourth, finishing the best of the O’Brien runners.

Final time for the 1 3/4-mile marathon was 3:07.92 over the soft turf course.

Stoute was very emotional after the race, telling reporters, “It has taken a long time but it is enjoyable to have done it at last, especially for this firm (Ballymacoll), as we have had three seconds.”

An ebullient Dettori stated, “I said to Michael that he has had Lester Piggott, Willie Carson, Walter Swinburn, Pat Eddery, Kieren Fallon, Steve Cauthen, and Ryan (Moore), so I was the last name on his book and I have gotten him out of trouble!”

Dettori continued, “I have won the race for five different trainers and it has been an unbelievable race.  To win five Legers is beyond my wildest dream.”

Conduit was bred in Ireland by Ballymacoll Stud.  He is by Dalakhani out of Well Head, by Sadler’s Wells.  He is from the immediate family of champions and/or group I winners Petrushka, Spectrum, and Millenary.

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