With the withdrawal of the one time second favourite from the St Leger Great Heavens the race this year will only be contested by colts.
The final classic of the year has played host to great battles of the sexes in years gone by. The last horse to complete the Triple Crown was the majestic Oh So Sharp who battled gamely to beat her male rivals at Doncaster. 1992 saw the much loved grey filly User Friendly win for Bill Gredley and thirty years ago Willie Carson guided Sun Princess to victory at Town Moor. Crockford thinks it sad that what could be an historic race this year will be the preserve of only male competitors.
With Camelot having swept past all of the male opposition put in front of him this season and last, many afficondos considered John Gosden’s filly Great Heavens to the only possible challenger to the O’Brien colt domination of the classics. Unfortunately, the race has become a tamer affair with Gosden choosing to send his filly to France instead with Camelot being left only to vanquish those who he has in most cases beaten before.
Perhaps racing may have to wait for another twenty years to pass before another filly claims the oldest classic again. Crockford will never forget how Steve Cauthen sealed a magnificent Triple Crown with the Cecil filly (Oh So Sharp) in 1985
(Photograph – John Gosden at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)