Irish Leger beckons for beauty

Irish Leger beckons for beauty

Profound Beauty will face seven rivals as she bids for a first Group One success in the Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh.

Dermot Weld’s six-year-old is one of the leading fancies for the Melbourne Cup in November after winning three of her four starts this term.

She faced another possible challenger for the Australian prize as Jeremy Noseda’s Sans Frontieres bids to book his ticket to Flemington Park on his first outing at the highest level.

John Dunlop’s Tactic, who had Profound Beauty back in second in the Curragh Cup earlier this year, takes his chance again, while Godolphin field last year’s Doncaster St Leger runner-up Kite Wood, who will be ridden by Alan Munro for the first time.

Charlie Swan hands Rajik a tough step up in class following his Galway Listed success last time, while Aidan O’Brien sends both Flying Cross and Lady Lupus.

The line-up is completed by ex-Japanese and 2006 Melbourne Cup runner up Pop Rock.

Pop Rock is now with Kildare-based Japanese trainer Takashi Kodama after connections decided to chase a slice of European glory.

Now nine, Pop Rock has also been placed in the Japan Cup in the past and enjoyed a successful entrance to Irish racing by winning at the Galway Festival.

“He did his last piece of work with Mick Kinane on Wednesday morning and Mick was quite happy,” explained Kodama.

“Mr John Oxx will not be having a runner in the race and so we are fortunate to be able to have Fran Berry riding again.

“He is owned by a Japanese syndicate and the people want to have a runner a big European race.

“He is in good condition but we don’t expect too much – if he passes some horses then everybody will have a great day.

“I believe the ground is yielding – he used to like good to firm but he is getting older and now I think he is better on good to soft.

“I do think he will run well though and hopefully he can finish in the first five.”

Kodama has started to look ahead from this weekend, adding: “I put him in the Prix du Cadran, just in case he missed the St Leger, but as long as he runs on Saturday I don’t think he would go there.

“I think he would probably run in the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket but it depends on this weekend.”

Kodama hopes Pop Rock can ignite his own career, too.

“It’s great for me to have the horse,” he said.

“I have been in Ireland for 13 years and I had a licence between 2002 and 2005. I was training for some Japanese owners but I wasn’t good enough.

“I have six two-year-olds, they are not ready yet but they may be ready for next month, and hopefully I will get some yearlings too.”

As expected, Profound Beauty’s stablemate Rite Of Passage was taken out at the final declaration stage, while O’Brien’s Joshua Tree is another notable absentee and instead heads for the English equivalent at Doncaster.

Stan James make Profound Beauty the 7-4 favourite for the Leger with Sans Frontieres next best at 5-2.

Irish Field St Leger, Stan James bet: 7-4 Profound Beauty, 5-2 Sans Frontieres, 7-1 Kite Wood, 8-1 Tactic, Flying Cross, 14-1 Rajik, 16-1 Lady Lupus, 20-1 Pop Rock.

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