Royal is a Diamond bet
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from the GAIN Irish St Leger card at the Curragh.
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Plenty of strong form on view but the filly ZAINDERA is handed the vote by virtue of her very encouraging debut behind the classy Tapestry here in July when Invisible Flash was behind. Atlantic Sea finished runner-up to the promising Giovanni Boldini at Dundalk though there were only three runners. Meihua is an interesting newcomer for Jim Bolger as she's related to plenty of winners while Aidan O'Brien runs Guerre, who cost 180,000 dollars.
DAZZLING lived up to her name and billing when storming to a debut victory here at the beginning of the month and there will be some long faces at Ballydoyle if she's can't follow up here despite taking on much better opponents. Beyond Intensity and Circling both showed ability in that race and though they look held neither of their trainers would be coming here without some hope. Avenue Gabriel will prove a good yardstick having followed her battling success on this track from today's rival Ballybacka Queen with placed efforts at Group 3 and 2 level and wasn't too far behind the selection's highly-rated stablemate Tapestry here last time.
Caesaria opened his career with a victory on heavy ground here in March but has been a short-price when beaten in all four subsequent starts. Rummaging has won twice on Polytrack but never on Turf though he hasn't had much experience for his age nor has Cool Power, who was having just her third start when easily landing a Leopardstown maiden. SO DEVOTED was a long way behind Caesaria here in the spring but she's made much the better progress and looked ready to win again when storming home at Leopardstown. An 8lb rise won't help but she's progressing nicely and can complete the double. Bangalore Diamond has only won on Polytrack or sand, as he did on the beach at Laytown last time.
DARWIN has made a big impression since arriving from the USA and his victory over 7f here in July could hardly have been given a bigger boost by the runner-up Gordon Lord Byron. Aidan O'Brien's charge is still in the Champion Stakes and the QEII so this should be within his capabilities. Brendan Brackan won a handicap at this fixture a year ago when there was some give in the ground, as there was when he scored at Galway in July, so any rain would aid his cause. Elleval's last success was at Meydan in February but he's been going well at this sort of level while the selection's stablemate Indian Chief, third in the Dante, is surely better than he showed when last of three at Killarney.
Galileo Rock was set to take his chance in the St Leger at Doncaster yesterday while it's strange to see the admirable veteran Red Cadeaux running in a classic but, as eight of his last nine starts have been at the very highest level, he deserves his chance though he wouldn't want any more rain. Ahzeemah has been showing his best form over further as he did when landing the Lonsdale Cup at York and he may get outpaced by a couple of these with last year's winner ROYAL DIAMOND taken to repeat the process as he was back to his very best here last month where he had Ernest Hemingway, who had beaten him the previous twice, well behind. The hugely promising Pale Mimosa may prove best of the remainder.
Jim Bolger loves this race and wouldn't be running the newcomer Fiscal Focus without good reason though it would be an incredible training performance if he were to land this Group 1. Giovanni Boldini doesn't have the best form in the race, nor even of his two stablemates Friendship and Wilshire Boulevard, but he's obviously very highly regarded as entries in all the big races suggests. His victory in a Dundalk maiden was a good start but both Sudirman, a winner at this level in the Phoenix Stakes over 6f, and the Vintage Stakes winner TOORMORE, have much stronger form. The latter, who already looks a good prospect for the 2000 Guineas, is handed the vote.
Candy Apples couldn't handle the step-p to Listed company here last month after landing a Bellewstown nursery and will find this less testing. Fly To The Moon has also been racing in better company since her victory over the course and distance in July where she had Hilltown Gal almost four lengths behind. Victory Rich didn't stay 7f on soft ground at Sligo and will need to do better but LADY ULTRA looked a certain winner at this trip in a Gowran nursery last time only to be caught by Ruler Of France and the drop in distance can enable her to gain her first victory.
Most of these have had enough chances. Gambling Girl and Wandering Star are winning bumpers and have to concede plenty of weight to the three-year-olds. A Star Is Born represents Ballydoyle and, though she's not well named, did a bit better at Wexford last time. More Of The Same was beaten a long way in a four-runner affair at Leopardstown while Teocht has been looking very one-paced. EBANIYA made a promising start at Ballinrobe last month then showed some improvement a week later when runner-up to Murphy's Delight at Roscommon. She wouldn't need much more to take this and is handed the verdict.