Jakkalberry scores at Arlington for Marco Botti
19 Aug 2012 | Report: USA, Saturday
Arlington Park: American St Leger (ungraded) 1m5½f, turf, 3yo+
Britain struck in the first of the four showpiece races at Arlington on Saturday when Melbourne Cup hope Jakkalberry took the inaugural running of the American St Leger for trainer Marco Botti.
Colm O'Donoghue partnered the six-year-old, who scored from US-trained front-runner Ioya Bigtime and November Handicap winner Zuider Zee, who represented John Gosden.
Ex-Italian Group 3 winner Lake Drop took fourth on his US debut but Bridge Of Gold, the third British runner, finished last of nine under Kieren Fallon in this $400,000 contest, a welcome addition to the programme given the dearth of so-called ‘marathon' races in the States.
A Group 1 winner in Italy, Jakkalberry was sent off 8-5 favourite before being settled in fifth place as Grade 3 winner Ioya Bigtime made the running tracked by Bridge Of Gold and Zuider Zee.
O'Donoghue asked his mount to move up on the turn and although the son of Storming Home did not get past a game leader until the last 100 yards, he edged clear under a drive to score by two and a quarter lengths, with Ioya Bigtime well clear of Zuider Zee in second.
"Mrs. Botti was very confident in him," reported O'Donoghue, who partnered Treasure Beach to win the Secretariat Stakes on the same card 12 months ago.
"They said he is in good form and gave me a lot of confidence - we expected a good run. My horse was the class he can really run."
Jakkalberry, who was fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes on his previous outing, is owned by an enthusiastic Australian syndicate who will now look forward to seeing their colours carried in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Zuider Zee's rider William Buick said: "He ran well but he hit a flat spot. These tight-turning tracks are not ideal for him and he's better with a little more cut in the ground."