sport

Culloty heads Leger Legends

The Clipper Logistics Legends Classified Stakes takes place for the fifth consecutive year and is the highlight on John Smith's Opening Day at the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Wednesday, September 10.

This year's line-up features Jim Culloty, who won three Cheltenham Gold Cups on Best Mate, and Derby-winning jockey Michael Hills. Carl Llewellyn, a dual Grand National winner with Party Politics and Earth Summit, is back for another crack after finishing fourth last year, while Kevin Darley, winner of the Flat jockeys' championship in 2000, also returns.

Other big names include Ladbrokes St Leger-winning jockey George Duffield and Willie Ryan, who captured the 1997 Derby on Benny The Dip.

The event, which is run in aid of Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College, has been organised by the Professional Jockeys' Association's Liaison Officer Dale Gibson.

Gibson, who will also be competing, said: "There are four fresh faces taking part this year.

"We have got Jim Culloty, who is obviously a multiple Gold Cup-winning jockey and a Gold Cup-winning trainer earlier this year, Brendan Powell, a former Grand National winner in the saddle, and Kelly Harrison, who was a successful female rider.

"Billy Newnes, who is a former champion apprentice and Oaks-winning jockey, is also coming over from Germany. He is currently the work rider of Sea The Moon, who is one of the favourites for this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

"I think you have to get some new people in each year. If you just have the same 16 riders, people will not pay as much attention to the race. We have got a good mix of Flat and Jump riders.

"I have been talking to them all about their preparations and all seems to be going fine. Billy Newnes is really looking forward to it as is Willie Supple, who won the race last year, and everybody is really up for it.

"The race itself actually makes for the feature contest on that first day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival. It gets everybody going ahead of what is a fabulous week's racing.

"We have 470 people attending our charity lunch, including a number of high-profile guests from the sporting world. Sir Alex Ferguson is the guest of honour.

"Michael Owen, Howard Webb, Geoffrey Boycott, Jilly Cooper and Lester Piggott will also be in attendance, so it is a really good cross-section of people.

"There will be the charity auction again this year. There are six main prizes, including a safari holiday, a bespoke tailored suit, and FA Cup final tickets. There is also a silent auction as well with a whole bunch of good prizes.

"In the last four years, we have raised just over 450,000 and we will be aiming to raise six figures again this year for Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College."

The full list of participants for the Clipper Logistics Legends Classified Stakes is as follows: Gary Bardwell, Jim Culloty, Kevin Darley, George Duffield, Dale Gibson, Kelly Harrison, Luke Harvey, Michael Hills, Gay Kelleway, Carl Llewellyn, Jimmy McCarthy, Billy Newnes, Ollie Pears, Brendan Powell, Willie Ryan and Willie Supple. Rodney Lappin and Allan Mackay are reserves.