Encke To Land Irish St Leger
Despite an impressive performance from John F Kennedy, a best price 8-1 favourite for next year’s Investec Derby, who looks an outstanding candidate for Classic glory in 2015 after his easy three and a quarter length victory in Leopardstown’s Group 3 John Deere Juvenile Stakes on Saturday afternoon Ballydoyle finished the day with two big disappointments courtesy of Tapestry’s defeat in the Group 1 Matron Stakes and the shock defeat of Australia by the Kevin Ryan-trained French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby in the feature race on the card, the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, and the Aidan O’Brien stable may face more agony on Sunday afternoon with hot favourite Leading Light in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger.
The Montjeu colt has tasted defeat only once since winning the 2013 Ladbrokes St Leger, that coming in Longchamp’s Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe last October, although the mount of Joseph O’Brien is unbeaten in three starts this season including a game neck victory over Estimate in the Ascot Gold Cup. There is no doubt the four-year-old deserves to head the betting for the 1m 6f contest worth £174k to the winner but at odds of 11-10 represents nothing in the way of value and a better bet at the 15-2 available with Betvictor is another St Leger winner in the shape Encke, conqueror of Camelot who was attempting to become the first triple crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970.
Now in the care of Charlie Appleby the Godolphin colt made the news for the wrong reasons when tested positive for anabolic steroids, resulting in a lengthy ban which kept the son of Kingmambo off the track until last month, almost two years since his Classic success. Over an inadequate mile and a half the five-year-old made a pleasing reappearance going down by just a length and a quarter to the consistent Pether’s Moon. With that run under his belt after a lengthy time on the sidelines and over a more suitable trip the mount of Adam Kirby is taken to inflict yet more grief on the powerful Irish stable who will be trying to win the race for a third time following Yeats in 2007 and Septimus 12 months later.