herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Light can Lead in the st Leger

Ascot Gold Cup winner to add final Classic

Day two of the Irish Champions Weekend brings us to the Curragh on Sunday where we'll experience Group One winners emerging from different ends of the scale.

Sunday's Palmerstown House Irish St Leger winner will need to be a tough, battle-hardened and genuine type who is capable of grinding out success by outstaying his rivals and maybe has a bit of speed in reserve for the finishing blow, whereas in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes we will hail some of the best that this years juvenile crop has to offer.

Aidan O'Brien's Leading Light will take on a classy field of stayers in the St Leger and amongst them is a former winner of the race in Johnny Murtagh's Royal Diamond who ran a nice race in the St Leger Trial recently but on evidence we saw at Royal Ascot this season Leading Light is the classiest stayer of them all at the moment and as Mick Kinane suggested in his column, the four-year-old could be the best to emerge from this category since the legendary Yeats.

In racing you can never bank on things falling right for you and if backers of Aidan O'Brien to win all five Group One's this weekend at 20/1 are going to get paid they will need an awful of luck along the way but there are certainly worse 20/1 shots running over the next 48-hours and O'Brien really does have a wealth of talent at his disposal over the two-days.

As well as Leading Light on Sunday he will go into the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes with Gleneagles spearheading his challenge and the son of Galileo who is three from four and unbeaten since his debut looks to be the real deal.

A colt that is yet to really mature, Gleneagles clearly learned a lot from his debut run and hasn't looked back since and can polish off a fine first season by adding a Group One prize to his Futurity Stakes which he claimed in good style at HQ last month.

The bookmakers laying the 20/1 about O'Brien's Group One cleansweep could well be looking towards Roger Varian's Cursory Glance to get them out of trouble and on a line of form with Tiggy Wiggy you can imagine why the layers will be confident.

The supplemented Found was a very impressive maiden winner at the Curragh and there are some shrewd judges who could hardly be more complimentary about her but it's a big ask to take on a filly like Cursory Glance who already has three runs under her belt, winning two of them and only losing out to one of the best around on the third outing.

One of the highlights of the weekend of course is set to be the return of last years Irish Oaks winner Chicquita who will top the Blandford Stakes.

Despite being a Classic winner last season, the four-year-old is undoubtedly more famous for her €6m prize tag which she demanded at Goffs last winter and Sunday will be her first competitive outing for Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore team and a sight of her will be worth the admission fee alone.

The Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes has developed a habit of going for export with only one Irish trained winner of the race in the last 10 runnings and that trend is likely to continue with Extortionist expected to return to winning ways for Olly Stephens.

The three-year-old never landed a blow in the Haydock Sprint Cup but a repeat of his run behind Sole Power earlier in the season and a drop in class should make the difference now on this occasion.

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