O’Brien The ‘Leading Light’ At Irish St Leger
Irish St. Leger
Hot on the heels of Saturday’s English St Leger is the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday (4.50), which has attracted the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s talented stayer, Leading Light (evens).
Last year’s English St Leger winner was unable to cope with a step back to 1m4f in the Arc de Triomphe last autumn, but made up for that with three victories from as many outings this term. The most impressive was in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (2m4f, good to firm), and his Group 3 trial win over C&D last month will have put him spot-on for Sunday’s assignment.
However, with only one of the last six favourites landing this famous race, backers may look to Dermot Weld’s 5/1 shot, Pale Mimosa, who won a Group 2 at York last month (2m, good). Although well beaten in this race 12 months ago, she has improved this season, and a top two effort last time out has proven a good omen for this Sunday’s race…
Trends Summary (dead-heat in 2011)
11 won three times or more
10 were beaten no more than 1l last time
9 made the top two last time
Aidan O’Brien, Dermot Weld and John Oxx won it twice apiece
Godolphin send over the 2012 English St Leger winner, Encke (5/1), who had not been seen since that famous win prior to a very encouraging comeback at Goodwood last month. Beaten just over 1l in that Group 3 event (1m4f, good to firm), Encke indicated the old flame was still burning, and he will be feared come Sunday.
Tom Dascombe’s, Brown Panther (14/1), was almost 5l behind Cavalryman at Goodwood (2m, good to firm), but was beaten only 1/4l in this race two years ago by Royal Diamond (12/1). This tough 6yo has been there and done it, though a touch of rain would increase his chances of getting involved.
The aforementioned, Royal Diamond, has to be respected as he always gives his best, including when beaten just over 1l by Leading Light in last month’s trial over C&D. Considering leading Light’s odds of 5/4, Royal Diamond has to rate each-way value at 16/1, having won this race in 2012.
Sir Mark Prescott has chosen this race as a Group debut for Pallasator (12/1), who has been an improver in handicaps, and arrives following a fourth in the York Ebor (1m6f, good). He’ll handle the conditions, but this is a big step up in class.
The favourites have enjoyed mixed results in this race over the last 10 years, but Leading Light is taken to add this prize to his impressive CV, having already captured last year’s English St Leger. At odds of evens – or in other words a 50% chance – some investors may jump at the chance of doubling their stakes on a horse with an 80% win record.