Sunday 25 February 2018

Wachman keeping St Leger options open for Galileo Rock

Galileo Rock ridden by jockey Wayne Lordan
Galileo Rock ridden by jockey Wayne Lordan
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Galileo Rock is one of four Irish horses declared for tomorrow's Ladbrokes St Leger, but David Wachman has warned punters that his classy colt could reroute to the Irish edition at the Curragh on Sunday if the Doncaster ground doesn't dry out.

Conditions were officially described as good to soft on Town Moor following rain on Wednesday. Yesterday was a largely drying day, but there was rain forecast to hit the area last night, and Galileo Rock, which was placed in both the Epsom and Irish Derbies, could miss his last chance at a proper Classic if it arrives.

With a €200,000 prize fund, the Irish St Leger is worth far less than the prestigious English Group One, a £600,000 feature that Wachman admitted has more appeal as a conventional three-year-olds-only Classic.

"Galileo Rock will be declared for the GAIN Irish St Leger and a decision on which race to go for will be delayed until Friday evening," said the Tipperary handler of the top-priced 9/2 shot for Doncaster.

Despite still being casually referred to as a Classic, that the Curragh race has been open to older horses for 30 years, means that it has no legitimate claim to such status. However, the presence of either Galileo Rock or Ballydoyle's Leading Light could yet help it transcend its rank as the poor relation come Sunday.

Aidan O'Brien has declared his Royal Ascot winner and the Great Voltigeur runner-up Foundry for Doncaster, but said earlier in the week that Leading Light would replace Ernest Hemingway at the Curragh if the ground at headquarters got too soft for him. Around 5mm of rain fell on the Kildare plains yesterday and the ground was officially described as good on the round course in the evening.

With Joseph O'Brien opting for Leading Light at Doncaster, his price has contracted a point to 4/1 with the sponsors, while Foundry was similarly trimmed into 5/1 after Ryan Moore was booked to ride.

Pat Shanahan and Tadhg O'Shea will be represented by rank outsider Ralston Road, as James Doyle rides the John Gosden-trained favourite Excess Knowledge for his new boss Khalid Abdullah. Godolphin's Libertarian, a place ahead of Galileo Rock when second in the Epsom Derby, and Ralph Beckett's Oaks heroine Talent are others among the 11 declarations – both have since flopped in the respective Irish equivalents.

Ger Lyons has suggested that Exogenesis could be withdrawn from tomorrow's Champagne Stakes if the ground deteriorates, though Eddie Lynam's Viztoria would be less ground dependent in the Park Stakes.

Meanwhile, north Cork trainer Lawrence Walshe has lodged an appeal with the Turf Club against the decision to ban him from holding a licence for two years.

Walsh was found guilty of various rule infringements after an August inspection of his Buttevant stable.

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