Eldar Eldarov and David Egan win the St Leger

‘I’m really impressed’ – Eldar Eldarov gives David Egan the first British Classic | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Eldar Eldarov and David Egan win the St Leger in Doncaster

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By David Carr

Sunday: Cazoo St Leger Stakes, Doncaster

David Egan was “stunned” after driving his first British Classic winner in a hard-fought, sadness-tinged Cazoo St Leger.

He admitted his first thought as he crossed the finish line with Eldar Eldarov, in a race delayed 24 hours due to the Queen’s death, was for Jack de Bromhead, the late 13-year-old coach’s son in a riding accident. Last weekend.

His success over a 9-2 shot from Roger Varian, winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June, was his first Group 1 triumph since winning the Juddmonte International and the Dubai Sheema Classic on Mishriff, whose owner, Prince Faisal, got rid of his benefits this summer.

Had that split not taken place, Egan would have been required for Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, which would obviously have come up against Leger had it been staged on the scheduled date.

“When one door closes, another opens,” Egan said. “My relationship with Prince Faisal ended on good terms and we both went our separate ways. Mishriff has had a great run since then and I still watch him and am a huge fan.”

As things stood, he was free to lead Eldar Eldarov to a two-length loss to subsequently demoted Haskoy.

“It’s been a sad week with all that’s happened, Her Majesty and Jack of Bromhead – we live on, but we don’t forget them,” he said.

“I’m stunned. All those other races have been fantastic in the Middle East, but an English Classic is something special, especially for Roger Varian, who I’ve been with since I was 15 or 16.

“Winning a Classic at 23… I never thought I would, but when you ride for such a big team it can happen. When you see Her Majesty won that race and you think I did something so similar – I’m really impressed, it’s all a bit blurry.”

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Roger Varian welcomes Eldar Eldarov and David Egan after winning the St Leger

Roger Varian welcomes Eldar Eldarov and David Egan after winning the St Leger

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Varian paid tribute to the jockey and said: “I’m thrilled for David, you won’t meet a nicer guy. He’s genuine, hardworking, very professional, graceful in disappointment and defeat and not obnoxious in victory.

“You forget how young he is and his best days are still ahead of him. Hopefully we will be part of that as well.”

Doncaster was an important track for Varian, who dispatched their first winner when Eton Forever won the Spring Mile here in 2011 and clinched the Leger with Kingston Hill three years later.

“Sometimes the longer you do something, the harder things get and the more you crave for big hits,” he said. “We had only trained for three years when Kingston Hill won, so it’s a great success.

“I want to congratulate our amazing team at home – they work hard and appreciate the winners as much as I do. I am also very grateful to the owner, His Highness Sheikh Khalid. He supports us with beautiful horses.”

Varian was convinced of a huge race from his fourth place at the Paris Grand Prix and said: “I quietly thought he had a really big scream today. Not everyone was wowed by his race at Paris, but he raced well and the winner pushed Luxembourg all the way into the Champion Stakes. And it was on fast ground, it was 36C and it was a long journey there. He was just getting started when the line was coming.

“His run at Royal Ascot showed he had stamina in abundance, and his run at Nottingham as a two-year-old in lovely testing conditions, albeit in a different company, showed he was handling the ease of the conditions today. The question he had to answer was whether he was good enough and he did.”

Varian is hoping for further success in 2023 when he campaigns against Leger’s winner at long distances.

“He has a lot of stamina and an admirable attitude,” the coach said. “We have to recognize what he is and he could be a very exciting Cup horse for the next two or three years if he stays healthy and healthy because he should improve with age.”

Like most days when the race was preceded by a two-minute silence and a chant of God Save The King, Varian also thought of the death of the woman who owned Dunfermline, winner of Leger in 1977.

“The whole nation is saddened by the loss of the Queen and everyone in the races is hit hard because we have truly lost our patron,” he said.

“We are very grateful that the race is taking place today, I think it is what she would have wanted. But it is a grieving family and our thoughts are with them.”


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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 4:10 PM, SEPTEMBER 11, 2022

‘I’m really impressed’ – Eldar Eldarov gives David Egan the first British Classic | Horse racing news

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