Tag Archive for: Irish St Leger

Kyprios on course to cement his credentials in Irish St Leger

The Irish St Leger remains the most likely next objective for Kyprios following his thrilling victory in the Goodwood Cup.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt claimed Gold Cup glory at Royal Ascot last month, a triumph that was somewhat overshadowed by the Stradivarius saga that followed, with both trainer John Gosden and owner Bjorn Nielsen criticising Frankie Dettori’s ride aboard the popular stayer.

A mouthwatering rematch played out on the Sussex Downs, with Andrea Atzeni replacing Dettori in a race Stradivarius had already won on four occasions, while the presence of defending champion Trueshan adding further spice.

But while Stradivarius went down fighting in second and Trueshan performed admirably in third, it was Kyprios who once again came out on top, much to the delight of his breeders and part-owners Moyglare Stud Farm.

“It’s great, he’s a good horse and it was a good race. I didn’t think he got the credit he deserved after Ascot and it was nice to see him prove a point at Goodwood,” said Moyglare’s Fiona Craig.

“Hats off to Stradivarius – he’s a tough old campaigner. I think they’re going to run him in the Lonsdale Cup at York next and Kyprios won’t run at York, so I doubt they’ll meet again, but that’s two meetings and two wins for Kyprios now.

“I think he deserves a little bit of credit, which he hasn’t really got.”

O’Brien nominated the Irish St Leger as a major target for Kyprios in the Goodwood winner’s enclosure.

What slightly complicates the issue for Moyglare is the fact his full-sister Search For A Song has already won the Classic twice and the team are understandably none too keen on the pair locking horns.

Search For A Song winning her first Irish St Leger
Search For A Song winning her first Irish St Leger (Niall Carson/PA)

Craig added: “I think that (Irish Leger) is the plan for Kyprios – I think that’s what Aidan wants to do. We also have Search For A Song, who is going to run in the Irish Leger Trial, and we’ll have to figure it out after that.

“I don’t think the two of them will run against each other. They did that in the Vintage Crop at Navan earlier in the year and Kyprios won comfortably.

“I think Search For A Song may end up going back to France as one thing we do know is she doesn’t want firm ground.”

What happens with Kyprios beyond the Irish St Leger remains uncertain, but he is likely to have options over a variety of trips.

Asked whether a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could come under consideration, Craig said: “That hasn’t been mentioned and that would be a question for Aidan – I haven’t even gone down that road.

“Aidan wants to go for the Irish Leger and we’ll just have to see where we go from there. He did say after Goodwood the horse could go down in trip and I think he’s fair adaptable.

“At the end of the day he’s going to be a fun horse as now he’s won an Ascot Gold Cup he’s going to be a National Hunt sire rather than a Flat sire. Whether that’s right or wrong is another day’s work, but that’s where he’ll end up, even if he came back and won at a mile and a half.”

Sonnyboyliston lands another knockout blow

Ebor hero Sonnyboyliston claimed Classic glory in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger.

Just over three weeks on from his lucrative handicap success at York, Johnny Murtagh’s charge stepped up to Group One level for the first time under Ben Coen.

With Amhran Na Bhfiann and Colin Keane setting a searching gallop from flag-fall, very few threatened to land a telling blow.

The leader weakened early in the home straight, which left Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment in front before Sonnyboyliston (4-1) arrived on the scene travelling strongly.

Twilight Payment did not give in without a fight, but Coen’s mount kept finding for pressure and was three-quarters of a length to the good passing the post.

Coen said: “I couldn’t have asked it to go any better. We jumped and he got a lovely tow into the race. They turned it into a real staying race and this lad keeps improving and keeps finding a way to win.

“Every day we step him up, he keeps on finding and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

“This is my first proper year as number one jockey to Johnny and we’ve had a few good spins in England, but I really wanted to get this Group One winner.

“For it to be a Classic and for Johnny is unbelievable.”

Ben Coen lifts the Irish St Leger trophy
Ben Coen lifts the Irish St Leger trophy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Murtagh, who won the Irish St Leger as a jockey when dead-heating aboard Jukebox Jury a decade ago, said: “On Friday I was bullish about the weekend and then after yesterday’s runners, I came here thinking we had a little chance.

“He was one of our best runners of the week, he never disappoints and I thought he did very well to win today – it looked like a proper race.

“I was a nervous wreck beforehand, but he had a good position all the way. He comes off the bridle, but I thought from two furlongs down Ben looked confident on him. He got into a bit of a battle, but he never lacks in a battle and I thought Ben was brilliant.

“I want to have runners on Irish Champions Weekend – it’s great to sit down and make entries in these great races.

“This horse has won an Ebor and has now won an Irish St Leger – I can’t say enough about him.”

He added: “Racing is a great game and a great leveller. You can never get too high or too low.

“I’m just the front man to a lot of people who do a lot of hard work. JP Murtagh Racing – I’m so proud of everybody.

“It means a lot to win a Classic at your local track.”

Asked whether the Melbourne Cup could be on the agenda, Murtagh said: “I don’t know. I think it will take a fair offer to take him away from the owners now.

“But it is £2.5million. Maybe not this year as he’s only four, but maybe he could end up down there for us sometime.”

Song searching for Irish Leger hat-trick

Search For A Song is reported to be in rude health ahead of her bid for a third victory in the Comer Group International Irish St. Leger.

Trainer Dermot Weld has won the Curragh Classic on nine occasions in all, with Vintage Crop landing back-to-back renewals in the 1990s and Vinnie Roe securing four consecutive renewals between 2001 and 2004.

Having struck gold as a three-year-old in 2019 and successfully defended her crown 12 months ago, hopes are high that Search For A Song can complete the hat-trick on Sunday, having been saved for the race since finishing fifth in the Tattersalls Gold Cup in May.

Fiona Craig, bloodstock and breeding adviser to owners Moyglare Stud Farm, said: “All is good. I saw her at Rosewell House on Friday and her coat is like silk.

“Dermot has aimed her for this and rather kept her for it. She’s in great nick and looks fantastic.

“It’s a tough race, but I think she’ll run her usual good race.

“It would be something special to win it for a third time – we’ll dream.”

Search For A Song is one of 14 runners declared for the one-mile-six-furlong contest, with Joseph O’Brien firing a three-pronged assault.

Twilight Payment has an excellent record at the Curragh
Twilight Payment has an excellent record at the Curragh (PA)

The Owning Hill handler runs six-times course winner and Melbourne Cup hero Twilight Payment, as well as the prolific Baron Samedi and Master Of Reality.

Johnny Murtagh steps Sonnyboyliston up in class following his lucrative success in the Ebor at York last month.

He said: “He’s going well, he came out of the Ebor really well and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on in this.”

Sonnyboyliston team waiting on next move

Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston has come out of his York exertions well, but where he runs next is still to be decided.

The plan had been to take him to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, but trainer Johnny Murtagh mooted a possible tilt at the Irish St Leger on September 12 in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s race.

“He’s in good shape. He came out of it well,” said Murtagh, who was winning the Ebor for a second time after Mutual Regard in 2014.

“I spoke to the owners the other day. They’re getting together, and they’re going to make a plan of attack.

“But he’s got home in one piece. He’s good – he’s a little bit tired, as you would imagine.

“But I put him out in the paddock this morning, (and) he seems pretty happy with himself.

“We’re just waiting with the boys to see what they think. I told them what I thought.”

Irish St Leger target for Dawn Patrol

Dawn Patrol is likely to be aimed at the Comer Group International Irish St Leger following his fine run in defeat at the Curragh on Saturday.

Trainer Joseph O’Brien is keen on a crack at the Classic in September after the four-year-old failed by only a short head to catch Cadillac in the Group Three International Stakes over a mile and a quarter.

It was the Galileo gelding’s first start for the County Kilkenny handler since he was bought by the Lloyd J Williams Syndicate out of Aidan O’Brien’s stable.

“I thought it was a great run from him, for a horse that you would imagine his optimum distance would be further,” said O’Brien.

“I suppose something like the Irish Leger would be an obvious target for him.

“He won over two miles at the Curragh last year so we always had him in our head as a staying type.

“I was actually surprised because in another stride he would have won.”

When asked if he could be considered for the Lexus Melbourne Cup later in the year O’Brien added: “He could be but we still have to do all those scans and things. It’s going to be a very strenuous process so I don’t know exactly who is going to be able to go.

“If we don’t go there, there are plenty of other places in the world we can go.”