LEADING LIGHT is the star attraction at the Curragh next Sunday, 14th September when he bids to add the Group One Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger to last season’s Doncaster St Leger victory. Winner of the Ascot Gold Cup back in June, the son of Montjeu has since landed a Group Three trial for this race at the Curragh last month.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt will be partnered by Joseph O’Brien, who was very upbeat about his chances when speaking recently. “He seems to have come out of his prep race at the Curragh really well,” said O’Brien. “He idled in front that day but always does and won nicely. Ground or trip is not a massive problem for him. He is an uncomplicated horse and I can ride him handy or take my time and that makes my job very easy.”
A total of 16 horses have stood their ground for this race, including Browne Panther, which carries the colours of legendry footballer Michael Owen and is trained for him by Tom Dascombe. Other British-trained horses to stand their ground are Biographer, Pallasator, Willing Foe, the rejuvenated Cavalryman and the 2012 Doncaster St Leger hero Encke.
Royal Diamond, who won this race in a thrilling finish back in 2012, is also likely to take his chance, while Dermot Weld has left both Forgotten Rules and Pale Mimosa in the race. “Both horses are ground dependent and we will wait until later in the week to see what the weather does before making a final decision,” commented Weld, who won the race 12 months ago with Voleuse De Coeurs.
Paddy Power, official betting partner to the Curragh Racecourse, have installed Leading Light as their 5-4 favourite and then go 5 Forgotten Rules, 6 Encke,9 Cavalryman, 10 Pale Mimosa, 12 Pallasator, 14 Brown Panther, 16 Royal Diamond, Willing Foe, 20 Eye Of The Storm, Venus De Milo, 33 Certerach, Biographer, 40 Shu Lewis, 50 El Salvador, 200 Achtung
Aidan O’Brien has a tremendous record in the Group One Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes and he is responsible for six of the 12 horses remaining in the race. Gleneagles, Highland Reel and John F Kennedy are the Ballydoyle trainer’s big three here. “All the horses are very well and we will finalise plans later in the week,” reported recently. Jim Bolger also has a strong hand here with Hall Of Fame, Parish Boy, Intense Style and McGuigan, while Charles Hills has left his highly promising Dutch Connection in the race.
Recent Curragh maiden winner Found has been supplemented to the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes for which there will be a maximum of 14 runners following today’s final entry stage. She is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has also left Ask Me Nicely, I Am Beautiful, Qualify and Simply A Star in the race. Roger Varian has committed his unbeaten filly Cursory Glance to the race, while the Richard Hannon-trained Osaila has also been declared a definite starter.
Last year’s Darley Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita is likely to have her first outing for Aidan O’Brien in the Group Two Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes and what a clash we have in store with Carla Bianca, Tarfasha and Vote Often among the 17 horses remaining in the race.
The first of eight races at the Curragh on Sunday commences at 2.05pm and the ground is currently Good To Firm. Watering has commenced today.
Curragh Race Day
Admission – Adult 20 euro, Seniors 10 euro, Students Free (with valid Student Card), Under 16s Free. 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 (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 Kicking King will also be part of the parade.
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 and they will be part of the closing ceremony which will promote the Light It Up Gold campaign to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer.