Wednesday 16 January 2019

grand st leger o'brien plans

Ballydoyle trainer likely to run Kingfisher in Stakes

Aidan O'Brien looks set to rely solely on Granddukeoftuscany in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Ballydoyle trainer has won the final Classic of the season four times, most recently with Leading Light 12 months ago.

O'Brien has also left in Irish Derby runner-up Kingfisher but seems likely to run the lightly-raced Granddukeoftuscany, the winner of a Tipperary maiden on his second start and fifth in the Great Voltigeur at York last month.

Kingfisher is instead set to join illustrious stablemate Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday night.

O'Brien said: "Probably only Granddukeoftuscany will run, with Kingfisher going to Leopardstown."

Asked if Joseph O'Brien would ride, O'Brien said: "I doubt it."

Scorpion (2005), Brian Boru (2003) and Milan (2001) are O'Brien's other Leger winners.

Granddukeoftuscany is a 20-1 chance with the sponsors.

James Doyle is poised to pick Voltigeur second Snow Sky over Kings Fete from Sir Michael Stoute's two contenders.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "James Doyle will have the choice and I'd imagine he'll go for Snow Sky, hopefully Ryan Moore will ride the other one."

Ante-post favourite Kingston Hill featured among 15 horse left in the world's oldest Classic at the five-day confirmation stage.

Ladbrokes admit the market centres around Roger Varian's classy colt, who won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last autumn.

Spokesman David Williams said: "The entire shape of the race seems to hinge on the participation of Kingston Hill.

"The 14mm of rain over the weekend would seem to be a big boost for his followers with more watering expected this week."

Ladbrokes have Kingston Hill as their 5-2 market leader, with Snow Sky clear second-best at 5-1 ahead of John Gosden's Romsdal and Richard Hannon's Windshear, both at 8s.

Frankie Dettori has lost the ride on Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Treve and will be replaced by Thierry Jarnet in the Prix Vermeille on Sunday, at the request of trainer Criquette Head-Maarek.

Jarnet partnered Treve to her first three victories last season, completing the hat-trick with a brilliant display in the French Oaks, following which she was snapped up by Sheikh Joaan Al Thani's Al Shaqab Racing operation.

After being announced as Sheikh Joaan's retained jockey, Dettori took over in the saddle when Treve landed last year's Prix Vermeille, but after being forced out of the Arc through injury, Jarnet steered her to a memorable victory in October's Longchamp showpiece.

The popular Italian has been back on board this year, with Treve suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Cirrus Des Aigles on her return to action in the Prix Ganay before returning with pulled muscles after finishing third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Head-Maarek feels reuniting the previously successful partnership will have a positive effect this weekend and going forward.

She said: "It was my decision, nobody else's. I think it is the best decision for the filly and when I told Frankie he was very good about it and understood my point of view."

"Thierry did very well on the filly last year and there is nothing more to say."

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