Just a day after the English version, the Irish St Leger takes place on an excellent card at The Curragh racecourse. This is the 4.40 and the final one of three Group 1 races taking place on this course on Sunday September 12.
The Irish St Leger is run over a mile and six furlongs and is for horses aged three years and over. The first prize is €285,000 and the ground is forecast to be Good to Firm. This race has been won for the past two years by the Dermot Weld trained Search For A Song who is bidding for a hat-trick this year.
No horse has won this race three years in succession since Vinnie Roe, who won four in a row between 2001 and 2004. A win this year would see Weld win a record tenth Irish St Leger.
Can Search For A Song complete a hat-trick? It wouldn’t be possible in the English St Leger as that is a race that only three year old can race in. Search For A Song is now aged five and only one of the last nine winners of the Irish St Leger has been that age. However, in 2016, Wicklow Brave was seven years old when winning this race.
Neither of the wins by Search For A Song were expected. He’s won at odds of 10/1 and 7/1 and this year is available at 5/1 to win a third Irish St Leger. Three races have been run since the 2020 Irish St Leger win but without success.
This year has seen the five-year-old finish second in a Listed race at Leopardstown and second in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup on this course but 13 and a half lengths behind the winner. That was back in May and on Soft to Heavy ground. His 2019 Irish St Leger win came on Good to Firm ground, so a much better run is expected by betting analysts at the Racingfestivals.net this weekend.
The favourite for this race is Twilight Payment who is trained by Joseph Patrick O’Brien. The eight-year-old comes into this race having recently won the Irish St Leger trial run on this course on August 13. That was a welcome return to 14 furlongs after finishing down the field in the Ascot Gold Cup in June. Twilight Payment has won on this ground too and is currently best priced 4/1 to win this race. This runner does have to give 3lbs to the favourite but horse.bet expect a bold bid to justify its position as favourite.
Boxing fans may opt to back Sonnyboyliston. Named after the former world heavyweight champion, this is a four-year-old trained by Johnny Murtagh. Like the favourite, this runner won its last race.
That was a Class 2 race at York on August 21, so this will be a lot tougher. This runner did take part in a Group 3 event at York in July but could only finish sixth. You can get odds of 5/1 but this contender looks more a horse that can get placed rather than win the Irish St Leger.
Sir Lucan is trained by Aidan O’Brien who has won this race five times, most recently in 2018. This runner is three years old and two of the last three Irish St Leger winners have been that age. In May, Sir Lucan won a Listed race over a mile and five furlongs and was staying on well. The last two races have both been over a mile and a half but failed to win either of them. At 5/1 a good run over a longer distance looks likely.