Millenary shows a sense of occasion

Two colts, Millenary here and Giant's Causeway at Leopardstown, achieved landmark victories yesterday with roots two centuries apart. Millenary, named for the occasion, won the 2000 St Leger, the 224th edition of the venerable race. Half an hour later Giant's Causeway became the first horse in the 30 years of the European Pattern to win five successive Group One races in the same season as he inched home in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Two colts, Millenary here and Giant's Causeway at Leopardstown, achieved landmark victories yesterday with roots two centuries apart. Millenary, named for the occasion, won the 2000 St Leger, the 224th edition of the venerable race. Half an hour later Giant's Causeway became the first horse in the 30 years of the European Pattern to win five successive Group One races in the same season as he inched home in the Irish Champion Stakes.

The duel between the 11-4 favourite Millenary and Air Marshall (3-1) that resolved the St Leger and the three-year-old stayers' championship was a fitting celebration for the new Millennium of the oldest, longest and toughest Classic. In the face of a pedestrian early pace Dalampour, with proven stamina, was allowed by Pat Eddery to bowl into the lead up Rose Hill and still held the call, indeed quickened again, as he and his ten rivals turned to face the uncompromising Town Moor straight, nearly five furlongs long.

But a quarter of a mile out Millenary, always running close to the pace, ranged alongside and past and as Richard Quinn sent his partner, who had never tackled further than a mile and a half, on into uncharted territory Air Marshall, with John Reid in drive position, sluiced past Dalampour in his slipstream and battle was joined. Air Marshall inched ahead gamely, but it was Millenary who dug deepest to pass the searching examination of class, stamina, resolution and competitiveness that the St Leger provides.

The contest between the pair, the bay and the chestnut, was a stirring re-run of their meeting at Goodwood last month. Then, Millenary had swooped from behind to win in the last stride. Yesterday, on 3lb better terms but with the disadvantage of being the target, he stuck his head out and confirmed his superiority by three-quarters of a length. The Irish-trained 40-1 outsider Chimes At Midnight justified the decision to supplement him by staying on dourly for third, only a length adrift but without ever really threatening the first two. His compatriot Media Puzzle came home fourth as Dalampour faded.

It was a third St Leger for the trainer John Dunlop, after Moon Madness in 1986 and Silver Patriarch two years ago. And so near, again, for Sir Michael Stoute, now responsible for his third runner-up and yet to win a St Leger in 15attempts.

Quinn, after a copybook race, was donning the famous oversized St Leger cap in the winner's circle for the second time. He won 10 years ago on Snurge; on that occasion, too, he beat a horse trained by Stoute in the colours of Lord Weinstock, the filly Hellenic. "I was in front much sooner than I ideally wanted," he said, "Millenary was not really racing then, but when Air Marshall came up to us and headed us he grabbed hold of the bit, and was going away in the last 100 yards. He had a bit in reserve."

Dunlop has had one Classic near-miss this year, when Sakhee ran second to Sinndar in the Derby. "When the other horse came to us I thought oh no, Epsom again," he said. "But he fought back really well, like the brave horse he is. Apart from when he got bogged down on that very soft ground in the French Derby he has done nothing wrong as he has progressed through the season. Today was a fantastic contest. Long live the Leger."

Millenary, a son of Rainbow Quest owned and bred by the Welsh-born, Washington State-based businessman Neil Jones, will stay in training next season and may drop back to middle distances. His son Matthew, representing him here, said: "He wanted to call the horse Millennium to celebrate the year, but the name was copyrighted. So we called him Millenary, a 1,000th anniversary, instead."

When Allabaculia won the first St Leger in 1776, it was the reign of George III, Wordsworth and Beethoven were both six years old and Jethro Tull was inventing seed drills. In 1971, with the mad king's four-greats grand-daughter on the throne and the agricultural reformer a rock band, the European Pattern, the classification of élite races and the platform for the modern industry, was created.

The magnitude of Giant's Causeway's achievement in adding yesterday's contest to the St James Palace, Eclipse and Sussex Stakes and the York International can be gauged by the fact that only one horse, Mill Reef, has won six Group One races - the Derby, the Eclipse, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the Prix Ganay and the Coronation Cup - in a row, and it took him two seasons.

But the only other horse to have won five in a season even non-consecutively at the top level in Europe has been Triptych, who took the Prix Ganay, Coronation Cup, York International, Irish Champion and Champion Stakes as a five-year-old in 1987. In her time she was known as the Iron Mare; it is fitting that Giant's Causeway's sobriquet is the Iron Horse.

The chestnut, trained by Aidan O'Brien, showed all his trademark durability to see off a gallant try by Best Of The Bests to get past him in the straight and repel the late flash of Greek Dance, another second for Stoute and Lord Weinstock, by half a length. Giant's Causeway's long-term target is the Breeders' Cup Classic in Kentucky in November; before that he will have Mill Reef's record in his sights in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in 13 days' time.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there