By Duane Fonseca
Aidan O’Brien won the Group 1 Irish St Leger for the sixth time as Kyprios further cemented his reputation as Europe’s top stayer with a dazzling and gritty performance on a heavy track at The Curragh Sunday.
Going 2800m on ground deemed ‘yielding’, the 4yo Galileo colt showed exactly why he is easily the continent’s best long distance traveller.
Ryan Moore nudged him on turning for home and Kyprios flew to move up and go nearly two clear. There was a lot to do, though, with William Haggas’ charge Hamish unyielding under Richard Kingscote and pushing the winner all the way to the finish, the pair ultimately cutting the deficit down to three fourths of a length.
A further seven lengths back was previous dual winner and Kyprios’ Moyglare Stud teammate Search For A Song, trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by jockey Chris Hayes.
The win helped Kyprios stretch his win streak to five races, which includes victories in the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup in June and July respectively. Aidan O’Brien said: “He’s very tough. He’s very relaxed and is always only in the gear that you want. Ryan gave him a great ride. He’s a great horse to have. He’s obviously a horse that gets a trip, but he has a lot of class. He’s very relaxed which is a massive help and helps him get the trip. He’s very brave, very clear winded, a good mover and a great mind. It’s just a pleasure to have him.”
O’Brien will consider the ground before deciding on whether or not to run Kyprios in the Arc at ParisLongchamp next month.
The St Leger was one of four Group 1 events held at The Curragh Sunday and a little over half an hour before O’Brien could win a sixth title, his son Joseph saddled the winner of the 1400m Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes for juveniles, Al Riffa, owned by Jassim bin Ali Al Attiyah, running home with a length and a quarter to spare following a late burst to give jockey Dylan McMonagle a first career Group 1 win. Finishing second was Proud And Regal for trainer Donnacha O’Brien and Gavin O’Brien, with Johnny Murtagh’s Shartash a further half length back in third under Ben Coen.
Trainer John Quinn and jockey Jason Hart joined forces to land the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Flying Five Stakes over 1000m with Highfield Princess, who claimed a third straight top-tier triumph as she won by three and a quarter lengths from Paddy Twomey’s Erosandpsyche, the ride of William Lee. A further half length back in third was Flotus for trainers Simon and Ed Crisford and jockey Seamie Heffernan.
Weld and Hayes partnered to win the 1400m Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for juvenile fillies, Tahiyra running home two and a quarter ahead of favourite Meditate trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Moore. Eternal Silence was a further four and a half lengths back in third for Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.
Joseph O’Brien also won the Group 2 Moyglare ‘Jewels’ Blandford Stakes with Above The Curve, who was guided perfectly by Moore to victory by a neck in the 2000m event. That was after Edward Lynam’s Dexter Belle won the card-opening 1200m Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap under Andrew Slattery.
Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and jockey Charles Bishop were victorious in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes over 1300m with Streets Of Gold, while the card-ending Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap over 2000m was won by the Murtagh trained Kerkiyra, the ride of Jamie Powell.