Order of St George misses the final classic of the season in favour of a tilt at the Irish equivalent against his elders tomorrow at the Curragh, leaving just seven runners going to post for the St Leger at Doncaster.
The colt’s late defection leaves stablemates Fields of Athenry and Bondi Beach left to represent the ‘Master of Ballydoyle’ with the latter well-supported in the market after chasing home Storm the Stars in the Great Voltigeur Stakes over a mile and a half last month at York.
William Haggas’ colt survived a stewards’ enquiry to win the race and boasts a progressive profile after placing in both the English and Irish Derbies at Epsom and the Curragh respectively.
Bondi Beach was arguably unfortunate not to win the race in the stewards’ room and is entitled to progress further. So is stablemate Fields of Athenry (3.50) who was far from disgraced when finishing fifth last time out in the Ebor Handicap at York. The selection hacked-up by 10 lengths over the St Leger trip at Leopardstown in July and with further improvement still to come can score for new connections at the highest level.
Godolphin are without a runner in the classic for the second year in succession despite dominating the classic in years gone by but are well-represented elsewhere on the card and the superbly-bred Emotionless (2.00) likely to take all the beating in the Champagne Stakes under William Buick. The colt landed a warm Newmarket maiden and given connections’ record in the race, winning three of the last six renewals, demands maximum respected taking the step in grade.
Muthmir proved to be a group horse amongst handicappers when dotting-up in the Portland last year under Paul Hanagan and whilst perhaps not quite of the same ilk, trainer Charlie Hills has always held Lucky Beggar (2.35) in the highest of regard, and he can score for the first time in over 18 months under Harry Bentley. The selection has been tried in higher grade since last year’s Newbury success but found life difficult with his three-figure rating. He has held his form well in some of the most competitive of spring handicaps and can take advantage of falling to his lowest mark in almost three years.
Henry Candy’s Limato (3.10) ran a career-best when chasing-home Muhaarrar in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and can return to winning ways in the 7f Park Stakes. The gelding was unbeaten as a juvenile and showed he retained all his natural speed when making a winning reapparerance at Ascot in the spring. Providing he sees out the extra 200 yards he is a confident selection to get his head back in front under Andrea Atzeni.
Irish Champions weekend kicks-off at Leopardstown with eight going to post for a stellar renewal of the Irish Champions Stakes. John Gosden’s Derby winner Golden Horn and Ballydoyle’s dual-Guineas hero Gleneagles are the star attractions but both have doubts over their participation with showers forecast and as such preference lay with Dermot Weld’s Free Eagle (5.45) under Pat Smullen. The selection has been held in the highest regard by his handler and made a winning reappearance defeating the re-opposing The Grey Gatsby in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot. The colt was having his first start in over nine months and should be stripped fitter for the run and has the potential to be even better.
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