Leading Light Illuminates St Leger – Weekend Review
Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a memorable Sunday at the Curragh when landing four of the seven races on the card, including an impressive Group-race treble.
The headline act was last year’s English St Leger winner, Leading Light, who followed-up his Ascot Gold Cup victory from June in landing the Irish St Leger Trial
. Odds-on backers never had any concerns as the 4yo won by over 1l, and O’Brien stated afterwards that this would have put him cherry-ripe for next month’s Leger back here.
O’Brien also nominated another possible target for his Futurity Stakes winner, Gleneagles, who put in a workmanlike performance to make it three straight wins. He could now go for the National Stakes in which O’Brien will be full loaded, and the Futurity/National double is a feat that has been achieved only back in 2010 by Pathfork.
Ballydoyle may have also enjoyed success in the Royal Whip Stakes, but not with the horse they expected, as pacemaker, Hall Of Mirrors, held on to deny Kingsbarns.
It remains to be seen how strong this form is, and the excuses are now stacking up for Kingsbarns, who has lost his last four races, three at odds of 4/1, 4/6 and 9/4.
It was also a memorable Sunday for jockey, Frankie Dettori, who enjoyed a Group 1 double in Deauville, winning the Prix Jean Romanet with James Fanshawe’s. Ribbons, who will return to France for the Prix de l’Opera on Arc weekend.
John Quinn landed a first Group with The Wow Signal, who took the Prix Morny, and could go for the Jean-Luc Lagardere. (also on Arc weekend). Of that British duo, Ribbons could be worth looking out for.
Talking of Arc weekend (first Sunday in October), it’s worth digesting a victory on the other side of the world this weekend via the Japanese filly, Harp Star, who made it 4-6 in winning a high-class Grade 2.
Harp Star beat the well fancied, Gold Chip (five-times Grade 1 winner), in the process seeing her Arc de Triomphe odds tumble into 12/1. Could this be the year in which the Japanese finally strike in the Arc?
Back in Britain on Saturday saw Bow Creek win the Celebration Mile at Goodwood. Siding with this winner next time out may not prove a bad move, as a glance back at the record of recent Celebration winners shows four of the last seven won next time out – two of whom won the QEII Stakes at Ascot next month. Bow Creek is around 25/1 for the QEII.
Elsewhere, the gamble was foiled on Pallasator, who finished fourth in York’s Ebor Handicap, and trainer Sir Mark Prescott could now send him for October’s Cesarewitch. However, he was beaten in the Cesarewitch when fifth last year when deemed a ‘non-stayer’, and he may not be one to back at this stage.
In a similar vein, Muharaar won a Group 2 for juveniles at York, but only just scrapped home and may not be one for the autumn Group 1’s, unlike the admirable, Al Kazeem, who won a Group 3 at Windsor on Saturday, and could be sent for Ascot’s Champion Stakes, where trainer, Roger Charlton, thinks going right-handed will be more suitable. He is currently around 12/1.