Ryan Moore: My verdict on St Leger day at Doncaster and the key races at Leopardstown
It's the final day of the St Leger Festival on Saturday, featuring the final Classic of the season, while Irish Champion Weekend gets underway. Ryan Moore is back with his thoughts on all the key races from Doncaster and Leopardstown...
"The Irish Champion Stakes will be a fascinating race if they all stand their ground. All eight horses are Group 1 or Grade 1 winners."
Emotionless was well fancied for his maiden at Newmarket last time, and he won impressively. The race is working out well too, the second and third have both won since, and he beat them easily.
Ibn Malik kept on well to win his maiden also at Newmarket on his racecourse debut at the end of June. He was beaten in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on his next run, but he did well to run Galileo Gold to three parts of a length.
The race should really be between these two, but I just favour Ibn Malik.
Safety Check ran three times in Dubai in the spring, and he won all three times. He made his seasonal debut in Britain in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, and he ran well to finish third behind Toormore and Dutch Connection, beaten three parts of a length and a head. That is good solid form and seven furlongs seems to be his trip.
Ivawood is on a recovery mission. He has missed a couple of engagements recently, and he has been disappointing on his last two runs, but if he could get back to the form that he showed when he was third in Guineas at Newmarket, or third in the Irish Guineas at The Curragh, then he would take a lot of beating.
That said, Limato would probably be my pick here. He was second to Adaay in a Group 2 race at Haydock in May, and he was second to Muhaarar in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He skipped the Sprint Cup at Haydock last weekend, and he wouldn't want too much rain, but he is rock solid.
Home Of The Brave and Cable Bay and Breton Rock are all talented performers, but I would just prefer Limato.
St Leger, Doncaster 15:45
It is a slightly disappointing field for the St Leger, especially now with Order Of St George out. That leaves only three horses with a real chance of winning it, the two Ballydoyle colts and Storm The Stars.
Storm The Stars has just about the best form going into the race, he has been rock solid all year, placed in the Derby and the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris. He deserves to be favourite.
Bondi Beach was probably a little unfortunate not to beat him in the Great Voltigeur Stakes. That was just his fourth run, he could improve a fair bit for that.
Fields Of Athenry is also improving, he put up a real good performance in the Ebor for a three-year-old. He might get the run of the race in front, I wouldn't discount him.
Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown, 17:45
The Irish Champion Stakes will be a fascinating race if they all stand their ground. All eight horses are Group 1 or Grade 1 winners.
The weather will obviously play a massive role. If it rains a lot, I would really respect Cirrus Des Aigles. He is coming back from a break, and he is nine-years-old, but he is top class, especially on easy ground.
Golden Horn deserves to be favourite, he is the Derby winner. It was disappointing that he got beaten in the Juddmonte International, but things went against him there. He should be able to bounce back from that.
I have always thought a lot of Gleneagles. He impressed me in the Guineas at Newmarket, and he impressed me with the way that he battled at The Curragh. I don't think that the trip will be a problem for him, he is always finishing out his races well over a mile, but he is a horse with plenty of pace, he took me to the front easily in the Guineas.
The Grey Gatsby is rock solid, last year's winner, but he has finished behind Golden Horn twice now, and it is difficult to see how he is going to beat him. There is very little between him and Free Eagle on their running in the Prince of Wales's Stakes. Free Eagle should come on for that, his seasonal debut, but he wouldn't want too much rain, and this is a deeper race than the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
Both fillies are fascinating, Found is a high class filly and she was very good at The Curragh last time, while Pleascach is the Irish Guineas winner who won the Yorkshire Oaks last time.
It is a race to watch and enjoy. Hopefully the weather won't ruin it.
Matron Stakes, Leopardstown, 18:20
I like Legatissimo, she is the Guineas winner and she was very impressive in winning the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last time.
But Amazing Maria was just as impressive in winning the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. Ervedya is a talented filly, and she got first run on her, but Amazing Maria ran her down inside the final furlong. It was a high-class performance.
I think that Euro Charline is a better filly than she has been able to show this season, but I still think that this should be between the top two. Lots of rain would be a negative for both though, and it would probably bring Cladocera into it.
It is a very interesting race. These are high-class fillies.