Competitive Irish St Leger Headlines Champions Weekend at The Curragh

Competitive Irish St Leger Headlines Champions Weekend at The Curragh
Flag Of Honour gets the nod from jockey Ryan Moore

Day two, the final day, of Longines Irish Champions Weekend carries €2.25m in prize-money and contains no less than four Group One contests.

The most valuable of these is the Comer Group International Irish St Leger (4:50pm), the six-runner field including the Irish Derby winner Latrobe, the first and second from the Irish St Leger Trial, Flag Of Honour and Twilight Payment, the Ebor Handicap runner-up, Weekender, and the Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup third, Idaho.

With Idaho, Weekender and Latrobe all rated 114 and the progressive three-year-old Flag Of Honour – the choice of jockey Ryan Moore from Aidan O’Brien’s three runners – rated just one pound lower, this has the look of a competitive race.

Only one three-year-old has won the race in the last ten years and there have been just three winning favourites during the same period.

It’s a different story with the Group One Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (4:15pm), with five of the last six market-leaders having obliged.

Aidan O’Brien has four runners this year, principally Anthony Van Dyck, who has won his last three races, including a Group Two contest at The Curragh last time over today’s trip of seven furlongs.

He beat two of Sunday’s opponents that day, Christmas and Mohawk, by half-a-length and two-and-three-quarter lengths and is the chosen mount of Ryan Moore. His main rival seems to be Charlie Appleby’s Quorto, who is unbeaten in two runs so far and landed the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last time.

The National Stakes is one of the main two-year-old races of the season for the colts and the same can be said for the fillies of the Moyglare Stud Stakes (3:40pm).

This race has a more-open look to it and includes two runners from England: Mark Johnston’s Royal Ascot and dual-Group 3 winner, Main Edition, and Charlie Appleby’s Deauville Group 2 winner Beyond Reason.

Aidan O’Brien runs three, principally the Group Two Debutante Stakes third, Zagitova, the mount of Ryan Moore, and Just Wonderful (Donnacha O’Brien), a recent Group 3 winner at today’s venue.

Adding spice to the race is Zagitova’s Curragh conqueror Skitter Scatter.

The card opens with a €150,000 Premier Handicap (2pm), in which there are seven runners from Britain, including David O’Meara’s Summerghand, a winner of two of his last three races and arriving here at the top of his game.

The same can be said of Johnny Murtagh’s lightly-raced Urban Beat, who has won his last three races but is ten pounds worse off for the length he beat Hello Brigette (who will race in first-time blinkers on Sunday) at The Curragh last time.

However, in what has been a best-ever season in terms of number of winners for Johnny, Urban Beat’s winning may not be done yet.

The Group 2 Blandford Stakes (2:35pm) offers a good opportunity to four-time Group 3 winner Eziyra, a good third to Sea Of Class in a Group One race at York last time, to gain a first Group Two success.

Jessica Harrington’s runners, Beautiful Morning and I’m So Fancy, will keep her honest, though, with Beautiful Morning representing the each-way value.

It will be fast-and-furious in the Group One Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at 3:05pm. The Nunthorpe Stakes fifth, Havana Grey heads the betting although the roof will be raised if Take Cover can bring the curtain down on his fine career with a win.

There’s the €300,000 Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes at 5:25pm, with nine of the 20 runners hailing from Britain, and 19 have been declared for the 10-furlong Premier Handicap that closes the card.

Two runners make the trip from Britain for the ten-furlong contest, including Danceteria, who will be bidding for a fifth-successive win.

However, three-year-olds have won three of the four renewals of the race and on what could prove to be a very good weekend for her, Jessica Harrington’s Still Standing, who comes here as lightly-raced and progressive, can go well. If you’re feeling brave, Inscribe is the one for the forecast.


2pm – Summerghand

6pm – Still Standing

Each-way treble: 2pm, Summerghand, 2:35pm, Beautiful Morning, 6pm, Still Standing





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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article