Leading Light illuminates O'Brien St Leger chances

 

Ruler of the World and Trading Leather, the English and Irish Derby winners, were conspicuous by their absence at today’s entry stage for the St Leger, connections opting  instead to go the Irish Champion Stakes route and a drop back in distance. However, a profusion of  prospective late-bloomers stood their ground for the Doncaster classic,  including no fewer than 12 from Aidan O’Brien’s powerful stable.

Leading Light, game winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last month, would appear the most likely to provide the trainer with his fourth St Leger triumph and has been  installed as the 5-1 joint favourite with Galileo Rock, who was placed in both the English and Irish Derbies.

But others from Ballydoyle jump off the list, too, not least the one-eyed Eye of the Storm, who might well  enhance his already fair claims in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York next month.

O’Brien sees the St Leger as the  natural autumn target for Leading Light, while Galileo Rock’s trainer, David Wachman, is confident that his colt is both still improving and liable to benefit further from a step up in trip.

As vets fought to save O’Brien’s St Nicholas Abbey in Tipperary, Corine Barande-Barbe, trainer of Cirrus des Aigles, now the hot favourite for Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, yesterday delivered a strikingly upbeat bulletin from her Chantilly base.

Many were left underwhelmed by the seven-year-old’s comeback effort after injury at Saint-Cloud last month when he plodded home in fifth place behind the German-trained colt, Novellist, who takes him on again this weekend.

But Mme Barande-Barbe insisted that Cirrus des Aigles was no more than 60 per cent fit then and will be a vastly different proposition for the rematch. “I am sure he as good now as he has ever been,” she said.

This week’s storms have missed Ascot and the ground looks like remaining on the quick side of good, which is more of a concern for Barande-Barbe than his fitness, but not, she said, crucial to his chances: “This horse knows how to swim and is happy on deep ground, but it was fast when he won in Dubai, so he doesn’t mind that either.”

Black Caviar, the recently retired Australian phenomenon, is to be mated with top stallion Exceed and Excel, who stands at Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud.

The “Wonder From Down Under” won all of her 25 starts, almost exclusively over sprint distances, while Exceed and Excel could shift a bit as well, winning Grade One events over six furlongs before embarking on his successful stud career. Australian race fans cannot wait for the new  offspring. They might even start betting on its name.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's nap

  Qawaasem  (3.05 Sandown)

No surprise when she won at Newmarket this month after such a promising debut run and expected to take this step up in grade in her stride.

Next best

Go Nani Go  (6.35 Epsom)

Back to his best and gave the impression there is more to come when scoring at Salisbury last time.

One to watch

Gallic Breeze (John Quinn) gave an odds-on favourite a real scare on his introduction at Musselburgh on Tuesday.

Where the money's going

Hillstar was supplemented this week for £75,000 for Saturday’s King George VI, and the Royal Ascot winner is now in to 7-1.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

Recruitment Genius: Healthcare Assistant

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This provider of care services is looking for...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Administrator

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Purpose of Role: To co-ordinate maintena...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent