Shock winner Encke stuns St Leger crowd

Mickael Barzalona celebrates winning the St Leger Stakes Race riding Encke. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mickael Barzalona celebrates winning the St Leger Stakes Race riding Encke. Picture: Andrew Roe

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SURPRISE St Leger winner Encke was the “party pooper” at Doncaster on Saturday as Camelot’s historic Triple Crown bid ended in disappointment.

Goldophin-owned Encke, a 25-1 shot, held off a late burst from second-placed Camelot to win the final Classic of the season at a shell-shocked Town Moor.

Camelot was bidding to become only the 16th horse to win the three English Classics in one season, a feat last achieved by Nijinksy 42 years ago.

“We thought he had a solid place chance, but realistically only that,” said Simon Crisford, the racing manager to Sheikh Mohammed’s Goldophin operation.

“But we’re pretty happy to be the party poopers.

“Mickael [Barzalona] rode a beautiful race and when he kicked at the two-pole he put the race to bed really.

“We weren’t sure about his stamina going into the race but he’s quite stoutly bred, so we thought it wouldn’t be a problem.

“What we loved about that race was the turn of foot he showed, that stands very well for next season and he will stay in training.

“I would imagine it’s very unlikely (that he will run again this season) but we will see what Sheikh Mohammed wants to do.”

Camelot owner Aidan O’Brien, whose son Joseph was on board the odds-on favourite, said: “It wasn’t what we thought it was going to be.

“It was a steadily-run race and Joseph said he was a little bit fresh with him, but that was probably always going to happen in a slowly-run race.

“You have to take your time on him over a mile and six which he (Joseph) did and when he got out he just stayed on rather than quickened.

“In the Guineas he quickened and in the Derby he quickened, but he just stayed on here.

“He ran a great race but just got beat,” he added.

“It’s disappointing for everybody but that’s the way it is. That’s racing.”