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Sunday 4 December 2016

Aidan O'Brien holds English St Leger aces

Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien has won four English St Leger's at Doncaster and on a day where so much of the attention will be on proceedings at Leopardstown for the first day of Irish Champions Weekend, O'Brien looks set to dominate the field for the final British Classic of the season this coming Saturday.

Ballydoyle were responsible for three of the eight potential runners left in Saturday's Doncaster feature and O'Brien hasn't ruled out letting Bondi Beach, Fields Of Athenry and Order Of St George all taking each other on in the 1m6f contest.

Following his comprehensive win over Sea Moon at the Curragh last time out, bookmakers make Order Of St George a 2/1 shot for Saturday with only Storm The Stars in amongst the O'Brien horses at the head of the betting.

Generally Storm The Stars is a 9/4 shot for the race as trainer William Haggas lets him take his chance in his fourth Group One Of the season.

Storm The Stars was third behind Golden Horn at Epsom and second to Jack Hobbs at the Curragh before another brave effort at Longchamp and then returning to winning ways at York in the Great Voltigeur ahead of Bondi Beach.

The Doncaster St Leger meeting gets underway tomorrow and the highlight is set to be the meeting of retired champions AP McCoy and Johnny Murtagh who will be amongst 19 riders in the Clipper Logistics St Leger Legends Stakes for which the bookmakers have made McCoy's mount Gannicus favourite.

VICTORIOUS

McCoy will be teaming up with his good friend Brendan Powell on the four-year-old who was victorious over a mile last time out at Brighton, while Murtagh will ride the Ian Williams-trained Commissar.

Meanwhile, the latest forfeit stage will take place for both days of Irish Champions Weekend today but the weights have been released for the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel next Wednesday.

The Listowel Harvest Festival gets under way this coming Sunday but their big race of the week is the Kerry National which was won last year by the Katie Walsh ridden Your Busy and this years weights are topped by the high class Rebel Fitz. The 10-year-old ran a nice race to finish second last time out and his trainer Mick Winters is hopeful for a bold showing at the Kerry track.

"He is in great form and has come out of Galway spectacularly well. If I said that we had left something to work on going to Galway, I'd be only praising myself, but he hadn't been out much over the summer and we were minding him," said Winters.

The former Galway Hurdle winner is a horse with his own following and with regular rider Davy Russell injured and Barry Geraghty likely to be retained by JP McManus, Winters will be looking for a new rider for the top weight.

"Out of courtesy to Barry Geraghty, he'll be offered the ride again, but I'd say he'll have to ride for his boss, JP McManus. There are loads of top-class riders around that we can choose from and he is a straightforward horse to ride."

"His coat has turned inside out and the race at Galway was like a practice match for him and his mind is great. We are very happy where we are with him now. He'll have top weight and it won't be easy to give weight away, but we'd be hoping that he'll get into the money," he added.

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