Krone proves lasting quality on Hero among cast of legends


Town Moor

Very few people in its history could have received a trophy from Lester Piggott here yesterday and credibly compared the ground each had broken on the Turf. But then nor can many horses have won over this storied track under a saddle containing over 60lbs of lead. Such, however, were the curiosities savoured by those privileged to witness a nostalgic turn by Julie Krone, the tiny Titan of American sport.

That there were so few reflected culpably on the way even the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting must be conducted in such meek conformity to the whims of television. At 4ft 10in, the most successful female jockey of all time has long been accustomed to punching above her weight, and duly redressed a lamentable lack of theatre to its opening day. The only woman to have ridden the winner of a Triple Crown race, and the only one to win at the Breeders' Cup, Krone ensured that a race of no inherent consequence – a classified stakes for retired jockeys, on horses rated 0-70 – obtained a genuine tint of history.

At 48, eight years after her second retirement, Krone still talks and thinks faster than most of the male rivals who for so long embodied the barriers of convention. To 3,704 career winners back home, and three ridden on one rainy evening at Redcar back in 1992, she can now add the name of Invincible Hero, who easily saw off the mounts of Charlie Swan and 64-year-old George Duffield.

Afterwards Krone hooked her arms over the parade ring rail and panted comically, before hoisting aloft her five-year-old daughter. "Let's be clear about one thing first," she said. "We all know I was on the best horse. I can tell you that because, with my fitness level, he only had half a rider today. When I saw the eighth pole I just gave him a couple of token swats, to say please keep going, and tried not to bounce around too much."

Be that as it may, she plainly retains sufficient vestiges of the old flair to deal with a straight green mile after turning left on dirt tracks for so many years. And while she emerged from the weighing room at a limping trot, otherwise she has plainly not permitted the slightest diminution in her exuberance.

"I feel so honoured by the whole experience, and am so grateful to so many people," she enthused. "I rode out 40 days in a row at home, for Eoin Harty and Richard Mandella. The collective experience of that group of riders out there was mind-boggling, but I've never had so many congratulations pulling up. And it's all been about two amazing causes: the work done by Jack Berry and the Injured Jockeys' Fund is wonderful, and I've fallen in love with everyone at the Northern Racing College. It was just so cool to see the passion and desire of the students there."

She had walked the track earlier with Michael Dickinson, whose own achievements either side of the Atlantic – as a trainer of both Cheltenham and Breeders' Cup winners – balance out rather more evenly. "Julie is a great rider and person, but very modest," he said. "She rode quite a few winners for me in America. She's just a natural, has really good hands, and often earned the riding fee before she got out of the paddock because she got horses so relaxed."

Proceedings will not be so enlivened every year, of course, and it seems a pity that the curtain cannot instead be raised more reliably by something like the Champagne Stakes – nowadays overshadowed on the Saturday card by the Leger itself. As it was, Humidor was artfully sheltered from the headwind before being produced to win a listed sprint under Frankie Dettori, while Richard Hughes twice showed that it remained possible to conserve energy in the lead with two beautifully judged rides on Eureka and Cai Shen. Sahara Sun, the South American import making his debut for Luca Cumani, finished only sixth of eight behind the latter – but could hardly have shaped better in beating so few. Weak in the market, he looked rusty but was gathering momentum late and connections may yet be justified in his Melbourne Cup entry.

Things pick up a little today, however, with Channel 4 deigning to take an interest. Chachamaidee looks equal to her status as Sir Henry Cecil's only significant runner of the meeting, in the JRA Sceptre Stakes, but she could be on new ground judged from an overnight forecast for rain. In the other Group race, Set To Music is entitled to maintain her astounding recent improvement but again testing ground would complicate matters, with her stamina to prove over this longer trip.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Burj Nahar (4.40 Doncaster) Must be pardoned a shocker at Haydock last time but a tongue-tie today hints at what went wrong that day, and this beautifully bred colt had looked better than a handicapper on his previous start at this trip.

Next best

Dimension (4.10 Doncaster) Has repeatedly suggested himself better than this sort of rating, and the drop in distance looks the prompt for him to do so, after again travelling brightly last time.

One to watch

Valencha (Hughie Morrison) Continues to thrive, seeing off all bar a flourishing rival at Ascot on Saturday having travelled best for longest, and looking more than ready for a drop back to 7f.

Where the money's going

Paddy Power laid Fame And Glory from 11-10 to 10-11 for the Irish Field St Leger on Saturday while his stablemate, Seville, is 7-1 from 9-1 for the Doncaster original the same afternoon.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments