Leading Light heads a field of 11 for the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday, one of three Group 1s on the second day of Irish Champions Weekend.
Unbeaten in three starts this year, including a famous success in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, Leading Light will be ridden by Joseph O’Brien who is seeking his first win in the race. Trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles his recent Leopardstown winner Eye Of The Storm in the €300,000 event.
Dermot Weld, who won the event last year with Voleuse De Coeurs, relies on Pale Mimosa as he bids to build on his remarkable record in the race. The Rosewell House trainer is chasing an eighth victory in the race having previously won with Curragh legends Vintage Crop and Vinnie Roe.
Johnny Murtagh runs the 2012 winner Royal Diamond and the other Irish–trained contenders are Achtung, trained by Luke Comer, Michael Halford’s Certerach and Shu Lewis from the Monica Dowdall Blake yard.
The race has attracted four British-trained runners with Godolphin responsible for both the Charlie Appleby-trained Encke, the 2012 Doncaster St Leger winner, and Willing Foe, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor. Sir Mark Prescott sends over the York Ebor fourth Pallasator while Tom Dascombe’s Brown Panther, co-owned by Michael Owen, completes the line-up.
Ten go to post for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes with supplementary entry Found one of four runners for trainer Aidan O’Brien who is bidding for his seventh success in the race. The Ballydoyle quartet is completed by I Am Beautiful, Qualify and Simply A Star.
Jim Bolger has won the Moyglare Stud Stakes on three occasions and runs his Debutante Stakes runner-upLucida. Kevin Prendergast is one ahead of the Bolger tally and he is represented by Beach Belle. The Jessica Harrington-trained Jeanne Girl completes the home team.
A strong cross-channel raid has been confirmed with Osaila, trained by Richard Hannon, Mick Channon’sMalabar and the Roger Varian-trained Cursory Glance, the likely favourite after a good second at York, all taking up the challenge.
A select field of five will go to post for the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes with Aidan O’Brien’s three-time winner Gleneagles set to top the betting market. Ballydoyle will also be represented byToscanelli. Jim Bolger is set to saddle Hall Of Fame who has a few lengths to make up on Gleneagles on their run in the Futurity Stakes here last month.
The Charlie Hills-trained Goodwood winner Dutch Connection is the sole British runner in the €300,000 contest and the Dundalk winner Michael Halford’s Toscanini completes the field.
A remarkable total of 37 British-trained runners have been declared on the eight-race card which also sees the return to action of Chicquita in the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes.
Paul Hensey, General Manager of the Curragh, said: “The hard work of all concerned to attract the very best horses, including the support of our very generous sponsors, has been highlighted by the high quality of entries which features an impressive 37 British trained runners at the Curragh on Sunday. We are all set for a truly memorable weekend.”
Curragh Race Day Notes
Admission – Adult 20 euro, Seniors 10 euro, Students Free (with valid Student Card), Under 16s Free accompanied by an adult. Family Admission 25 euro.
1st race 2.05pm (gates open 10.30am)
Free car parking. Irish Rail service to Kildare Town with free shuttle to racecourse. Dublin Coach also provide race day service directly to the racecourse (see www.dublincoach.ie)
Kildare Village will offer the winner of the style and elegance award a 3k shopping spree and Palmerstown House Estate, sponsor of the Irish St Leger, will give the winner a VIP stay for the winner and 19 friends in their magnificent manor house. The five fashion finalists from the Curragh’s style competition will be entered into a draw to drive away in a brand new Jaguar XF, which will be theirs to drive for one year. Yvonne Keating, County Kildare Failte Ambassador will be one of the judges, while actress Victoria Smurfit will be the official Irish Champions Weekend ambassador
Throughout the afternoon the attractions will include a Parade of Champions featuring four Champion Hurdlers – Hurricane Fly, Jezki, Binocular and Hardy Eustace, while Quevega and the legendary Kicking King will also be part of the parade.
Presentations will be made to the Irish St Leger legends to commemorate the 100th running of the race this year
The Moyglare Stud Kids Zone will provide a variety of exciting free entertainment throughout the day for younger race goers with shows featuring well known Disney and Star Wars characters.
There will be performances by the world renowned Celtic Tenors during the afternoon.