Sans storms to Leger glory

Sans storms to Leger glory

All roads lead to the Melbourne Cup for Sans Frontieres after the British raider took top honours in the Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh.

Rejuvenated of late by the application of headgear, Olivier Peslier rode a confident race on the Jeremy Noseda-trained 13-8 favourite.

Smart mare Profound Beauty looked in command when she took over a furlong and a half out, but it soon became apparent Peslier had every move covered.

Peslier never had to get that serious to reel in Dermot Weld’s charge, with three-quarters of a length the winning margin.

Flying Cross was third for Aidan O’Brien.

William Hill cut Sans Frontieres to 14-1 from 25-1 for the Melbourne Cup.

Barry Simpson, racing manager to winning owner Sir Robert Ogden, said: “It’s a first Group One for Sir Robert and I’m thrilled for him and the horse.

“Sir Robert spends most of the winter away, so his interest in jumping has diminished a little bit.

“We’ve bought Flat horses for the last three or four years and we are delighted with what he has done.

“Jeremy told me he earlier in the week he had done the best piece of work he ever has for him.

“I must admit the rain put us off a bit – he’s coped with it but I don’t think conditions really suited him.

“We will talk it over with Sir Robert, but the plan was to find out if he got the trip and Melbourne is very much on the cards.

“Sir Robert has been very keen to go to that race and run well there.”

Pathfork (2-1) made it three wins from as many starts in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

But Jessica Harrington’s two-year-old had to pull out all of the stops to see off Casamento, who only made his debut last week at Tipperary, in a thrilling renewal of the Group One contest.

The latter had made most before the strong-moving Pathfork threw down his challenge, and responded in kind as the two fought out a ding-dong battle at the business end.

Zoffany was sent off the 6-4 favourite but was one of the first of the principals to send out distress signals and was a never-dangerous third.

Harrington said: “Fran (Berry) said he had to be really tough and that he didn’t really like the ground.

“Pure class got him there in the end and it’s just fantastic.

“I felt sick beforehand and my panic during the race was that he was in front for so long.

“I’m going to the sales at Keeneland in the morning and I’ll make plans with the owners then.

“He did have a very hard race there.”

Longhunter made the most of a drop in class to take the Irish Field Blenheim Stakes.

Not disgraced in either the Railway Stakes or the Futurity on his two previous starts, the Kevin Prendergast-trained youngster was sent off the 3-1 joint-favourite but had to scrap to take the Listed prize.

Declan McDonogh’s mount had travelled sweetly throughout and all looked set fair when his fellow market leader Emperor Hadrian gave way at the head of affairs.

But Katla slightly got first run and it was only in the dying strides that Longhunter got up by a short head.

Prendergast said: “He is a good, genuine little horse. The ease in the ground was a help and he battled well.”

Good To Follow (100-30) was another for favourite-backers as he stayed on strongly for Pat Smullen to take the Handicap, while 10-1 chance Admiral Barry took the Curragh Amateur Derby EBF Handicap with something to spare.

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