Curragh Saturday: Southern France the Call in Leger Trial4 min read
I fancy Aidan O’Brien can maintain his stranglehold on the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh, even in the absence of Order of St George
13:45 Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden
This must surely be the opportunity for Gee Rex to get his head in front after catching the eye to some extent on all his previous runs. The pattern of his races have become familiar already – slowly away and outpaced before staying on strongly once the race is over, and all those runs have come at six furlongs. He looked likely to fall out the back of the telly here in the Anglesey Stakes here last time, but was beaten just over five lengths in the end, and it’s now become clear that he needs further than sprint trips if he’s going to win. Despite his pedigree, he looks likely to stay a mile, and stepping up and down in class can see him end his frustrating run
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15:25 Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes
The absence of race regular Order of St George, winner of the corresponding event for the past three years, robs the St Leger Trial of some of its star appeal, but Aidan O’Brien still saddles four. He’s very nearly matched by Willie Mullins, who is responsible of three of the remaining quartet, and the clash between the two champion trainers is an intyriguing one. It should be remembered that it was Willie who spoiled Order of St George’s sequence of Irish St Leger wins when Wicklow Brave dethroned the champion in 2016, and he clearly means business with his Flat forays.
Southern France looks the pick of the O’Brien horde, and this rangy colt saw a racecourse for the first time as late as April, since when he’s improved in leaps and bounds. He ran with real credit when second to Kew Gardens in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, and the winner has won the Grand Prix de Paris and finished an unlucky third in the Great Voltigeur since then. That will have aided Southern France’s development no end, and he can defy his relative inexperience to score a famous win.
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16:00 Curragh Stakes
Bailly looks the bet in the Curragh Stakes, for all Gossamer Wings has the best form. Aidan O’Brien’s filly disappointed at Newmarket last time, and can be taken on as a reult. Bailly lacks the pattern-race experience of that rival, but she has improved with each run and impressed when scoring in a maiden at Bellewstown last month beating Sundance Star easily. Silver Service, third at Bellewstown, has won twice since, and Bailly followed up at Down Royal last time. There is more to come from her, and she should offer some value against higher rated rivals.
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