Moore aims for clas­sic full set on Capri in St Leger

Deauville and Lan­caster Bomber fly the Bal­ly­doyle flag in Canada

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - Brian O’Con­nor Rac­ing Cor­re­spon­dent

Ryan Moore will aim to com­plete a full set of Bri­tish clas­sics by team­ing up with Ai­dan O’Brien’s Capri in this af­ter­noon’s Wil­liam Hill St Leger at Don­caster.

Vic­tory for the num­ber one hope among a Bal­ly­doyle Leger quar­tet will give Moore a tenth Bri­tish clas­sic but a first in the world’s old­est.

The English­man’s only clas­sic blank in Ire­land is the Derby and Capri is al­ready one up on all four of O’Brien’s pre­vi­ous Leger he­roes, ar­riv­ing at Don­caster as a proven clas­sic win­ner hav­ing landed the Cur­ragh ‘Blue Riband’ in July.

The form of that nar­row de­feat of Cracks­man has been boosted on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions since and the Leger’s ex­tra stamina test could boost Capri’s chances of giv­ing Moore – who will be 34 on Mon­day – an early birth­day present.

“Capri is a horse we al­ways thought would stay fur­ther than a mile and a half,” O’Brien re­ported. “The Ir­ish Derby was a very truly run race. He was handy all the way, he kicked, kept go­ing and I don’t think he was re­lent­ing at the line.”

Strength in depth

Ire­land’s cham­pion trainer has won three of the four cross-chan­nel clas­sics al­ready run in 2017 with En­able’s Oaks rout the no­table ex­cep­tion.

How­ever Bal­ly­doyle’s strength in depth means Moore has won just once – Churchill’s 2,000 Guineas – and was mem­o­rably trumped in the Ep­som Derby by Padraig Beggy on the 40-1 Wings Of Ea­gles.

Two other Bal­ly­doyle stal­warts, Em­met McNa­mara (Dou­glas Macarthur) and Mick Hussey (The Anvil) are among Capri’s back-up in a Leger which also sees Rekin­dling line up for Joseph O’Brien.

The for­mer cham­pion jockey won the Leger for his fa­ther in 2013 on Lead­ing Light and will hope to re­peat the fam­ily favour for his brother Don­nacha.

O’Brien Snr runs both Spirit Of Valor and Peace En­voy in the Group Two Park Stakes at Don­caster as well as the pair of Men­delssohn and Sea­henge in the Cham­page Stakes.

Later tonight his at­ten­tion will switch to Canada where both Deauville and Lan­caster Bomber take their chances in the Grade One $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

With Moore on duty at Don­caster Jamie Spencer – who rode O’Brien’s sec­ond Leger win­ner, Brian Boru in 2003 – takes the reins on Deauville.

Last year’s Belmont Derby win­ner is a morn­ing line favourite in Toronto and will break from stall six in a dozen strong field. The race is due off at 11.34pm Ir­ish-time.

Wayne Lor­dan will bid for a third top-flight win of his first sea­son em­ployed at Ball­doyle on board Lan­caster Bomber who will break from stall ten.

Lead­ing chances

Ear­lier on the Woodbine card, the for­mer Bal­ly­doyle stal­wart, Colm O’Donoghue, will don Godol­phin’s silks on the Char­lie Ap­pleby Hawk­bill in the $300,000 North­ern Dancer Stakes. The mile and a half heat is off a 10.31.

Lis­towel’s 2017 fes­ti­val winds up on Satur­day with Wil­lie Mullins send­ing a quar­tet of run­ners all of which look to hold lead­ing chances.

The ex-point to point win­ner Minella Beau boasts a very dif­fer­ent pro­file to last year’s St Leger third, Houses of par­lia­ment. Heavy con­di­tions could suit the Mullins run­ner more.

Gowran has a Group Three fea­ture on its Satur­day card and it in­cludes the Mar­tyn Meade-trained Wil­am­ina who holds Laganore on Cur­ragh form from July.

Con­di­tions will be sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent now but per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence will prove to be the re­vi­talised re­cent form of Der­mot Weld’s horses.

Dab­u­lena reached an of­fi­cial mark of 95 on the back of two wins in May when Weld’s horses were gen­er­ally un­der the weather.

She’s back for an Au­tumn cam­paign and con­sid­er­ing how much bet­ter the Rosewell string are go­ing now there could be sig­nif­i­cantly more to come from the Aga Khan’s filly.


Capri, rid­den by Seamie Hef­fer­nan (left), win­ning the Dubai Duty Free Ir­ish Derby at the Cur­ragh. Ryan Moore will part­ner the colt in to­day’s St Leger at Don­caster.

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