Who was the first woman to train the winner of the St. Leger?
The St. Leger is run over 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards on Town Moor, Doncaster in early September each year. Established in 1776, by the eponymous Major‐General Anthony St Leger, on Cantley Common, east of Doncaster, the St. Leger is the oldest of the five British Classics.
Remarkably, it was not until September 10, 2016, 240 years after the inaugural running, that Epsom trainer Laura Mongan became the first woman to saddle the winner of the St. Leger. On that occasion, Mongan sent out the Lawman colt Harbour Law who, according to official ratings, had 18lb to find with the odds-on favourite, Idaho, and was consequently sent off 22/1 seventh choice of the nine runners.
However, in an eventful race, Idaho stumbled and unseated jockey Seamie Heffernan with three furlongs to run, leaving Harbour Law to fight out the finish with Ventura Storm and Housesofparliament, who were officially rated 9lb and 11lb superior, respectively. Nevertheless, once galvanised by jockey George Baker in the final furlong, Harbour Law stayed in well to lead close home and beat Ventura Storm by three-quarters of a length, with Housesofparliament just a short head further behind in third place. After a stewards inquiry, the placings remained unaltered.
Reflecting on her historic victory, Mongan said, ‘It was brilliant. I think I screamed a lot. I’m in shock.’