Irish St Leger lead up for Melbourne Cup hopefuls

The time-honoured Irish St Leger, to be run Saturday at The Curragh (Sunday 12:45am AEST), is likely to be the final run for a number of international hopefuls for the 2010 Melbourne Cup to be run on November 2.

Three Melbourne Cup entrants will run in the Irish St Leger.

They are the Dermot Weld-trained mare Profound Beauty, the Jeremy Noseda-trained Sans Frontieres and the John Dunlop-trained Tactic.

A fourth, Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite of Passage, was due to run at The Curragh but was scratched after disappointing at trackwork.

It is understood that he is still likely to be seen in Melbourne.

Profound Beauty, who ran 5th in the Melbourne Cup two years ago, is the favourite for this year’s St Leger.

She started second favourite last year, but was a very disappointing 4th, beaten 23.5 lengths by this year’s Cup topweight Alandi.

It meant that she missed last year’s Melbourne Cup.

She has raced very consistently this year, her only defeat from four starts coming at the hands of Tactic in the Curragh Cup.

Tactic was well supported for a Melbourne trip before his last start perplexing failure in the Goodwood Cup.

He would need to run well here to book a trip down under.

Sans Frontieres is likely to be seen in Australia unless he fails miserably in the St Leger, with trainer Jeremy Noseda very keen to run him in the Melbourne Cup.

The Irish St Leger has long been regarded as the best guide to international stayers who compete in the Cup.

This was cemented when Dermot Weld trained Vintage Crop to win the Irish St Leger-Melbourne Cup double in 1993.

However, since Vintage Crop, not one winner has succeeded in Australia, with many starting close to favourite and failing badly.

The best result since then was in 2004, when Vinnie Roe, fresh from capturing his fourth Irish St Leger, ran 2nd to the great mare Makybe Diva.

1996 winner Oscar Schindler (finished 15th to Saintly) and 2008 winner Septimus (18th to Viewed) are two of the more notable flops in recent Melbourne Cup history.

The last plane of Melbourne Cup hopefuls arrives on October 9, meaning that any horse who runs in the St Leger has two weeks to enter quarantine.

Written by Andrew Hawkins

10 Sep 2010

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