Panther pounces in St Leger

Trainer Tom Dascombe was full of praise for jockey Richard Kingscote after an enterprising ride aboard Brown Panther gave the pair their first taste of Group One success in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh yesterday.

Panther pounces in St Leger

Former England international footballer and part-owner Michael Owen was moved to tears when his pride and joy claimed Royal Ascot glory three years ago and there have been plenty of good days since, but this was undoubtedly his crowning moment.

Sent off at 14-1 having run consistently well in some of the season’s top staying events, Brown Panther was positioned in second for much of the journey, with Kingscote the only rider keen to keep Ballydoyle pacemaker Eye Of The Storm within striking distance.

While Eye Of The Storm capitulated soon after the home turn, Brown Panther, perhaps to the surprise of the other riders, kept up the gallop remorselessly and the chasing pack never looked like reeling him in.

The star of Manor House Stables passed the post six and a half lengths clear of Ascot Gold Cup hero and odds-on favourite Leading Light, with Encke a close third.

Dascombe said: “Well, the first thing to say is he gave him a brilliant ride. It’s just worked out today.

“We have been having a real lean time. We didn’t manage to have a winner last week and I was close to pulling him out, but there aren’t too many Irish St Legers so you have to run. The horse never lets us down.

“He won’t go to Australia (for the Melbourne Cup). He’ll go for the Champions race at Ascot (Long Distance Cup) if he’s all right in the morning.

“We are thinking about giving him a few races in Dubai. He’ll probably run for one more season.

“It’s my first Group One winner and couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Owen said: “That was very special. He’s the apple of my eye, as everyone knows, and he was pretty spectacular out there today.

“He’s a superstar.”

Roger Varian’s dream weekend continued as 11-8 favourite Cursory Glance struck gold in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Almost exactly 24 hours after claiming their first Classic with St Leger hero Kingston Hill, Varian and jockey Andrea Atzeni teamed up again as Cursory Glance held the late thrust of Lucida by a neck.

Varian said: “Andrea felt she was running a bit lazy, and when he gave her a squeeze she took off. Perhaps she ended up in front a bit too long but it was a funny race.

“She is a Group One winner now and that will probably be it for this season. Hopefully she will have a massive year next year.

“It has been a magical weekend and has not really sunk in yet.”

Epsom Oaks runner-up Tarfasha (11-10 favourite) bounced back from a disappointing run in the Irish Oaks with a comprehensive victory in the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes.

Winning trainer Dermot Weld said: “I will have to have a word with Sheikh Hamdan, but her end of season target will probably be the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and we will have a look at the Prix de l’Opera (at Longchamp).”

Gleneagles could be bound for the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket after enhancing his reputation with a clear-cut victory in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Aidan O’Brien’s 1-3 favourite dug deep when asked the question by the trainer’s son Joseph and claimed his first Group One prize by a length and a half from Toscanini.

The winning trainer said: “He has plenty of speed and is probably a Guineas horse.

“He quickens very well, and could go for the Dewhurst.”

King’s Stand and Nunthorpe runner-up Stepper Point (9-4 favourite) deservedly enjoyed his day in the sun with a dominant front-running display in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.

Trainer William Muir said: “He went over the top at this time last year but I’d say we’ll have to go for the Prix de l’Abbaye.”

David Barron’s Midterm Break (16-1) scooped the majority of 200,000 euros on offer in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes, while fellow British raider Watchable (5-1 favourite) struck for David O’Meara in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund ’Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap.

The Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund ’Northfields’ Handicap brought a pulsating Irish Champions Weekend to a close, with victory going to the O’Brien-trained Adjusted (11-2).

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