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Samedi has Irish St Leger target

Joseph O’Brien has his sights set on the Irish St Leger for prolific winner Baron Samedi.

The four-year-old scored seven times on the trot, including the Belmont Gold Cup, before his winning streak was brought to an end when fifth behind Broome in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud this month.

O’Brien is targeting the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 12, with a possible prep run first.

“Baron Samedi has the Irish St Leger as his main target and may have a run before then,” said the County Kilkenny trainer.

“If he does run before it will be in the Irish St Leger Trial.”

O’Brien will take time to consider several options later in the season for his Group One Pretty Polly Stakes winner Thundering Nights.

The form of her Curragh win got a boost when runner-up Santa Barbara subsequently landed the Belmont Oaks – and an international campaign may also be on her agenda.

O’Brien said: “Thundering Nights is on a little rest at the moment, and we have no immediate plans.

“She has some options in France, Ireland and America later on in the year – so we’ll be concentrating on the late summer and autumn.”

Baron Samedi surprises Vintage Crop rivals

Baron Samedi continued his winning ways when springing a 20-1 surprise in a dramatic renewal of the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained four-year-old came from last to first to record a sixth consecutive victory in this Group Three heat over a mile and three-quarters.

There was no fluke as Baron Samedi lifted this prize off a mark of 112, having started last term on a rating of 65, to give jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle a first Group-race winner at his first attempt.

Baron Samedi led home a one-two for O’Brien, whose Master Of Reality was second after landing this race in 2019.

There was early drama with Sunchart jinking and unshipping Andy Slattery on leaving the stalls. The jockey was able to walk away while Sunchart continued riderless.

Emperor Of The Sun and Master Of Reality took the remaining five runners along with the latter going on two furlongs out.

However, Baron Samedi was delivered from the rear to hit the front and defeat his stablemate by half a length. Emperor Of The Sun was third with Santiago, the 8-13 favourite, only fourth.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “He’s one of those unbelievable horses that has kept improving.

“Even turning in, a few lads said ‘you’re beat here’, but he never knows when he’s beat. He seems to love a fight and he keeps quickening up.

“It was Dylan’s first ride in a Group race, and a winner. He’s a smashing rider for a young lad.

“That’s the quickest (ground) the horse would have run on, but he said he seemed to float away on it.

“He just kept pulling out that bit more and you just don’t know when he’s going to stop improving.

“He’s filled out this year and he’s a bigger horse. He just keeps improving all the time.

“You never know, he could end up going to Australia with the others.”

Baron Samedi was given a quote of 25-1 for the Ascot Gold Cup with Betfair and Paddy Power.