Monday 19 March 2018

'Light' plays leading role in O'Brien's four-timer​

Leading Light, with Joseph O'Brien up, gallops away from the field to capture the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh
Leading Light, with Joseph O'Brien up, gallops away from the field to capture the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh

Thomas Kelly​​

ASCOT Gold Cup hero Leading Light made the perfect return to action in yesterday's Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial on a good day for Aidan O'Brien at the Curragh.

Given a break since his gallant efforts at Ascot in June, last year's Doncaster St Leger winner was shouldering 10st against a useful field, but in the end just needed to be kept up to his work to win.

The front-running Shu Lewis narrowly missed out for second as Royal Diamond finished well, but Leading Light (2/5 favourite) was never in danger once he got his nose in front around a furlong out.

His long-term aim will be defending his crown at Ascot next year and O'Brien said: "I'm delighted with that. He's had a good break since Ascot.


"The (Irish) Leger falls lovely in the second half of the season for him. I don't know where he'll go after that, but the main thing is the lads would like him back for Ascot next year."

Gleneagles saw his Classic odds tumble after a smart turn of foot sealed the Galileo Futurity Stakes.

Winner of the Group Three Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown last time out, the Galileo colt stepped up to Group Two level with the minimum of fuss, being cut to 16/1 for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby by Paddy Power.

Settled in third on the rail as Convergence cut out the running, Joseph O'Brien got a lovely split two from home and the response from the 8/13 favourite was taking as he shot through the gap to beat Vert De Grece by three-parts of a length.

"He could possibly come back here for the National Stakes, but he has plenty of options," said O'Brien.

Hall Of Mirrors initiated a treble for Ballydoyle with a surprise success in the Kilfrush Stud Royal Whip Stakes.

The outsider of the four runners and apparent second-string for the O'Brien team behind stablemate Kingsbarns, the Seamie Heffernan-ridden four-year-old made every post a winning one, eventually scoring under just hands and heels.

Joseph O'Brien loomed large on Kingsbarns two furlongs out and looked set to win his race when asked to quicken at the furlong pole, but Hall Of Mirrors (13/2) was not for passing and won by a snug half a length.

O'Brien said: "That was always liable to happen as the other horse is fit. We knew he (Kingsbarns) would get tired today, but he had to run. He came there but got tired."

It was four for Aidan and three for Joseph when Adjusted justified 9/4 favouritism in the closing ten-furlong maiden, drawing three lengths clear of Sindarban.

Raydara (11/1) ran out a stylish winner of the Debutante Stakes for Mick Halford and Shane Foley.

Second on her debut before winning her maiden well at this track last month, the daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar beat the once-raced Lucida by half a length. "The Moyglare is the obvious target, but she does love it fast and she might have had enough for this year," said Halford.

A good day for Sabrina Harty was completed as Kalann (16/1) was driven to victory by Leigh Roche in the two-mile handicap. The locally-based trainer was not present as she was in Goodwood, where she oversaw the Group Three success of Ansgar (14/1), which landed the Supreme Stakes in the hands of James Doyle.

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