PROFOUND Beauty looks primed to give Dermot Weld a seventh Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh today.
Weld has won the final classic of the Irish season with Vintage Crop (twice) and Vinnie Roe (four times). And Profound Beauty, another horse that has represented him in the Melbourne Cup, must be strongly fancied to provide Walter Haefner, owner of the Moyglare Stud, which owns the mare, with an early present, two days before his 100th birthday.
A seven-time stakes winner, Profound Beauty disappointed in soft to heavy ground in last year’s Irish St. Leger, finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Alandi, a horse she had earlier beaten in the Curragh Cup.
This season, Profound Beauty has won three of her four starts, her wins coming at Leopardstown and her defeat, by Tactic, in the Curragh Cup.
That defeat was suffered on unfavourably fast ground and her many fans will expect Profound Beauty to reverse that form with Tadhg O’Shea’s mount, on 3lb. better terms and on more suitable ground.
The Jeremy Noseda-trained Sans Frontieres has solid claims on his win in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, when he beat Laaheb, with Kite Wood a disappointing sixth, and, earlier, his Group 2 success at Newmarket.
Aidan O’Brien relies on three-year-old Flying Cross, a three-year-old, successful at Tipperary last time, but facing a stiff task against the battle-hardened older stayers.
The display of Japanese import Pop Rock, runner-up in the 2006 Melbourne Cup and successful on his Irish debut in Galway, will be watched with interest.
But, with conditions in her favour, Profound Beauty stands out and can gain her first Group 1 win.
The Group 1 Boylesports.com Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, our premier two-year-old race, features a fascinating clash between Aidan O’Brien’s Phoenix Stakes winner Zoffany, beaten only once in six starts, and the unbeaten Pathfork, representing Jessica Harrington and Fran Berry.
Both horses have beaten Glor Na Mara, a rival again today, in their most recent outing, Zoffany getting up close home to beat Jim Bolger’s colt and odds-on favourite Strong Suit in the Phoenix while Pathfork had a length and a half to spare over Glor Na Mara in the Group 2 Futurity.
In what should be a truly-run race, with a four-strong Ballydoyle team likely to guarantee a realistic pace, the outcome will probably hinge on when Fran Berry makes his move on Pathfork, a colt that enjoys racing prominently and looks a dour stayer, and whether Johnny Murtagh can cover that move and make a crucial late move. Having raced only twice Pathfork might be open to more improvement and gets the nod.
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