LEADING Light gave trainer Aidan O’Brien his fourth Ladbrokes St Leger and his son Joseph his first as he stayed on strongly at Doncaster.
The combination had been disappointed 12 months ago when Camelot failed to complete the English Triple Crown, but the 7-2 favourite was more than up to the task.
Ridden positively, the Queen’s Vase winner finished a length and a quarter clear of the Oaks heroine Talent and the twice Classic-placed Galileo Rock.
Mickael Barzalona, who had wrecked Coolmore dreams aboard Encke 12 months earlier, decided to make the running with Cap O’Rushes, but they were starting to feel the pressure turning for home.
Leading Light, whose previous outing had been over two miles at Royal Ascot in June, was never too far away and O’Brien junior kicked on reasonably early to make use of his stamina.
Talent, who was bidding to become the first filly to land the Leger since User Friendly in 1992, got in a little barging match when trying to make her move from the rear, but the cheekpieced Leading Light was in full control by then.
Galileo Rock, whose trainer David Wachman made an extremely late decision to take his chance after grave concerns about the ground, ran a very respectable race and was just three-quarters of a length behind Talent.
The winning jockey said: “He jumped a bit slowly and I could see a couple of horses going forward. I knew we weren’t going to go much of a gallop so I gave mine a kick just to get up there.
“He’s quite lazy in his races, he wears cheekpieces and I got him going plenty early – I knew if I didn’t hit him until a furlong and a half out he would win.”
Aidan O’Brien said: “He’s a very solid horse – his form going into Ascot was mile-and-a-quarter form. The lads wanted him to go for that race [Queen’s Vase] but he has plenty of class.
“He’s versatile trip-wise, it was a big jump up to two miles (at Ascot), he’s a good horse.
“The lads will make the decision (on where to run next) but it (the Arc) would be open to them if they wanted to do that. We’ll see, they’ll probably talk about it next week I’d say.
“I keep saying it, but it’s a privilege for us to be involved with the team. We really appreciate it, to have good horses to ride and train. It’s a big team effort and we’re a very small part of it.”
Coolmore supremo John Magnier said: “We will look at the Arc now, he’s got plenty of speed. We will talk about that.
“The ground in Paris is soft at the moment. That would rule Camelot out and perhaps open it up for him.”
Ralph Beckett was delighted to see Talent bounce back to form after a below-par effort in the Irish Oaks.
He said: “I’m thrilled to bits with her and I feel like I have won as her last run was so bad in Ireland, For her to come back and do that it’s terrific.
“All being well, if the ground comes up similar to today, we’ll run in the fillies’ race at Ascot on Champions Day.”
Wachman, son-in-law of Magnier, said of Galileo Rock: “He ran a blinder but the Oaks winner just came and did us for second. The winner won very well. I suppose at least the right team won if we weren’t going to.
“I might travel him at the end of the year but I’ll speak to the owners.”