Moore aims for classic full set on Capri in St Leger
Deauville and Lancaster Bomber fly the Ballydoyle flag in Canada
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.
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.