We’re continuing our Irish Champions Weekend tips with eight expert selections for Sunday’s star-studded card at the Curragh.
The Irish St Leger is the showpiece event and there are also three other Group 1 prizes up for grabs, one for sprinters and two for top-class juveniles.
2.00 BIG GOSSEY
Galloped on gamely to beat a big field over this course and distance in June and should appreciate stepping back up to 6f after a staying-on third at the minimum trip here last time out.
2.35 ONE VOICE
Jessica Harrington’s charge had no chance against Love in the Yorkshire Oaks but meets more conducive company in the Group 2 Blanford Stakes and a bold showing is expected if back to the form of her neck second to Fancy Blue in the Nassau at Glorious Goodwood.
3.10 QUE AMORO
The Michael Dods-trained filly is well fancied for the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes, having pushed star sprinter Battaash all the way in the Nunthorpe at York (pictured below).
Jockey Paul Mulrennan said: “She’s come out of York very well. It was a hell of a run in the Nunthorpe – I’ve not seen many horses get Battaash off the bridle like she did, so it was a great effort.
“If she can reproduce that sort of performance this weekend, I think she’s the one they’ve all got to beat.”
3.40 PRETTY GORGEOUS
Joseph O’Brien’s charge put up an impressive display in the Debutante Stakes three weeks ago and is a worthy favourite for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes over the same course and distance.
“She’s a very exciting filly,” said the Piltown handler. “She couldn’t have been any more impressive last time in very heavy going. Obviously, she handled that, but she’s also won on better going, so she’s versatile ground-wise.”
4.10 LUCKY VEGA
Goes into the Group 1 National Stakes on the back of arguably the most impressive performance by a juvenile this season in the Phoenix Stakes, when he quickened clear to crush Aloha Star and The Lir Jet.
Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood scorer Battleground and the Charlie Appleby-trained Superlative Stakes victor Master Of The Seas provide stiff opposition, but the drying ground should favour our selection.
“From day one, he’s always been a nice horse,” said jockey Shane Foley. “He’s laid-back, so should have no problem going up to seven furlongs.
“He had a little hold-up after his maiden win, which meant it was a bit of a rush getting to the Railway Stakes. He got beat in that, but improved no end for it and showed what he was capable of in the Phoenix.”
4.40 TWILIGHT PAYMENT
Seems to be in better shape than ever after landing the Vintage Crop Stakes and the Curragh Cup at this venue in convincing fashion, so we’re backing him to complete a hat-trick in the Irish St Leger.
“He’s seven, but he ran a career-best last time on figures,” said Joseph O’Brien. “He’ll probably need to do so again, but if he does, it puts him right in the mix. We’re excited about running him and we’re hopeful of a good performance.”
5.15 STAR OF ORION
Ralph Beckett’s English raider has twice run well in defeat at York since a gutsy debut triumph at Newmarket and the booking of Ryan Moore looks significant for this valuable sales race.
Like many of the Aga Khan’s home-bred horses, this three-year-old has taken a little while to find his feet, but he travelled well when landing an 18-runner maiden at Cork in July and is expected to have developed further during a nice break since that success.
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