Weather likely to spoil Ward’s Leger hopes

VINCENT WARD would rather the weather did not spoil his decision to supplement Fictional Account for this weekend’s Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh.

Ward has achieved a notable feat in improving a horse from Dermot Weld, as the six-year-old mare has gone from strength to strength this season.

After finishing behind Saturday’s hot favourite Fame And Glory in the Vintage Crop and Saval Beg Stakes, as well as when tailed off in the Gold Cup, she finally defeated Aidan O’Brien’s star by a neck when they reappeared in the Leger Trial three weeks ago.

“She’s in great form, I’m very happy with her,” said the Co Meath trainer.

“It is soft at the Curragh at the moment and that is my main cause of concern as she loves quicker ground.

“But hopefully we’ll get a nice drying week and it will be more like good by the weekend.

“I’d be chuffed if she finished sec ond, third or fourth as it would add to her breeding value and it’s good prize-money, too.”

Ward may not have Fictional Account for too much longer, however, adding: “She does have an entry in the sales in December, but that depends on the owners and what they want to do.

“Let’s get the weekend out of the way first anyway.”

The Curragh’s racecourse manager Paul Hensey did not have great news for Ward.

He reported on Tuesday: “We had 9mm of rain yesterday and the ground was eased from yielding to soft.

“It has been dry so far today but we have an unsettled week ahead and we are expecting some rain every day.

“With regards to predictions for the weekend, it will probably not get much worse but it depends on the amount of rain as to whether it gets better.

“We expect it to be on the soft side.”

Meanwhile, Richard Hughes admits loyalty to his boss and father-in-law Richard Hannon was a major factor in deciding to ride Census in Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Hughes stepped in for the injured Ryan Moore on Sea Moon when he bolted up in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York and instantly became the hot favourite for the final Classic of the season.

Sea Moon’s trainer Michael Stoute said at the time he would like Hughes to continue the partnership, but the jockey would do nothing to jeopardise his relationship with Hannon.

Instead, he rides Census, whom he helped land the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

“I’ve ridden Classic winners in India, but they don’t count, I suppose,” Hughes said.

“I was on the favourite but I have commitments and I have to ride for Richard.

“I would still love to win the Derby – that’s the main ambition – although I barely get a ride in the race.

“Richard gives me 120 winners a year, I am first jockey there and it’s Richard’s first live chance in the St Leger since he’s been training.

“I think if I jumped ship (to Sea Moon) now I would be shot.

“We’re happy with Census, but how good he is we don’t know – there is a suspicion that Times Up was a bit close to him at Newbury (when third). But he could not have done it any easier. They all have to beat Sea Moon. He’s the one without a doubt.

“But if I rode Sea Moon, and then Census beat me I would kill myself!”

The going remains good to firm on the eve of the start of the four-day fixture.

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