Irish Leger repeat on the cards for Sonnyboyliston

Sonnyboyliston will be targeted at a defence of the Comer Group International Irish St Leger title he won in 2021 by Johnny Murtagh.

The five-year-old announced himself as a player in the long-distance division when making a successful raid on the Ebor at York last August and then plundered Group One honours on his first ever attempt at that level when always doing enough in the 14-furlong Curragh contest.

His only other outing since came when second in the Red Sea Turf Handicap in Saudi Arabia in February and although holding an entry for the Goodwood Cup later this month, the gelding’s trainer is preferring to head straight to the Curragh on September 11.

“He won’t be going there (Goodwood). We’re going to target the Irish St Leger,” said Murtagh.

“He’s had a few little issues during the year, but we think we have him back on track and the Leger would be his main target.”

The trainer also provided an update on his high-class two-year-old, Shartash, who was last seen picking up the Group Two Railway Stakes.

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Shartash, here ridden by jockey Ben Coen (left) when winning the Gain Railway Stakes, could return to the Curragh for a Group One next
Shartash, here ridden by jockey Ben Coen (left) when winning the Gain Railway Stakes, could return to the Curragh for a Group One next (Niall Carson/PA)

The Aga Khan-owned son of Invincible Spirit got the better of the Coventry Stakes fourth Blackbeard on that occasion and will now return to that same venue in search of Group One glory as he looks to cement his position as Ireland’s leading two-year-old.

Murtagh added: “He’s a very exciting horse. He could run in the Phoenix Stakes next time and is also in the National Stakes. He’s bred to stay a bit, we’re going to stick at six (furlongs) next time, but I’m sure we will try seven by the end of the year.”

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