Agent Murphy To Solve Curragh Clue
Irish St Leger
Punters have another “St Leger” to solve on Sunday when 11 runners line-up at the Curragh for the Irish St Leger (4.50).
Agent On Leger Trail
This Group 1 sorts out the middle-distance sorts from the stayers, and Brian Meehan’s 4yo, Agent Murphy (5/1), will be bidding to join the latter category, having won a Group 3 at Newbury last month (1m5f, good to soft). It was a career best that put this colt in the picture for Sunday, and the manner in which he pulled 5l clear at Newbury suggests the extra furlong will suit.
The fact Agent Murphy avoided Group 1 company last time also bodes well judged on past renewals of this race…
Irish St Leger Trends
Of the last 11 winners (dead-heat in 2011)…
10 were 4-6yo’s
10 were drawn in stalls 1-6
9 ran in a Group 2, Group 3 or Listed race last time
9 won during their last three runs
Another who avoided Group 1 company last time was Dermot Weld’s 4yo, Forgotten Rules (4/1), winner of the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes back in May (1m6f, good), prior to a creditable third in the Ascot Gold Cup (2m4f, good to firm). He was then expected to gain compensation in a Group 3 just 10 days later, but his exertions from Ascot contributed to him finishing fourth of six runners.
Freshened up since, Forgotten Rules has a good record following a break, and he looks sure to run a big race.
Panther To Pounce Again?
But, what of last year’s winner Brown Panther (6/1)? Tom Dascombe’s 7yo looks to have been targeted to defend his crown following just two outings this year, the last of which was a close second in a Group 2 at York in May. Like Forgotten Rules, Brown Panther goes well fresh and it will be interesting what the market says ahead of race time.
One who has been seen of late is Luca Cumani’s 4yo, Second Step (10/1), a Group 2 winner at Newmarket in May (1m4f, good to firm), prior to picking up a German Group 1 last month (1m4f, good). The question is whether he’ll stay the extra two furlongs, but is an improver whose best days are front of him.
Another Newmarket raider is Sir Michael Stoute’s Gospel Choir (14/1) who has to be considered as each-way material having won his only race over 1m6f last season – a Group 2 at York. This 6yo has run with credit throughout the summer at a lower level, but will enjoy this return to further with Kevin Manning.
Doncaster or The Curragh For George?
However, when it comes to putting the cash down, there are plenty of backers who look to that man, Aidan O’Brien, who surprisingly leaves Order Of St George (9/4) in the race – he runs in the English Leger 24 hours earlier. It remains to be seen whether Order Of St George runs, but having beaten stablemate, Kingfisher (14/1) around 16l in the trial over C&D last month, his chance is respected.
A lot depends on Order Of St George’s participation, but assuming he heads to Doncaster on Saturday, the vote goes to Agent Murphy, who relished the step up to an extended 1m5f last time and has more improvement to come.
*Prices correct at time of publication