Search For A Song and Chris Hayes give Dermot Weld his 8th Irish St Leger

Search For A Song (Chris Hayes) gave Dermot Weld his 8th success in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger. Credit: David Betts.

An emotional Dermot Weld won his 8th Comer Group International Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Sunday as the filly Search For A Song (10/1) ran out a two-and-a-quarter lengths victor in the final Irish classic of the season.

Ridden by Chris Hayes, the daughter of Galileo, went to the front midway in the 1m 6f contest, having disputed the lead for a period of time with the Joseph O’Brien-trained LLoyd Williams-owned trio Twilight Payment, Master Of Reality and last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby victor, Latrobe. He was well fancied with online bookies all week as whe was backed from 20/1 to 10/1

In the Moyglare Stud colours, Search For A Song ran her rivals ragged in the only open-age classic on the Irish flat racing calendar, as last year’s Ladbroke’s St Leger winner at Doncaster, Kew Gardens (7/2), came on the outside, but failed to land a serious blow to the winning three-year-old filly.

Southern France (9/1) finished in third, ahead of last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter (6/4f), who was bidding to give Godolphin, Charlie Appleby and William Buick a Group 1 brace on the day.

Godolphin’s Pinaturbo (1/3f) was a hugely impressive winner of the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh this afternoon, as the Charlie Appleby-trained two-year-old ran out a nine-length winner of the Group 1 contest.

The son of Shamardal is now unbeaten in all five of his life starts, and made easy work of the field, which included the much spoken-about Armory (100/30) from Ballydoyle, who was runner-up, a neck ahead of another Aidan O’Brien juvenile, Arizona (5/1).

Pinaturbo was described by his handler as “a trainer’s dream once you get to know him”, with Appleby freely admitting the horse “doesn’t excite you in the morning to say the least.”

Aidan O’Brien’s winning form over Longines Irish Champions Weekend continued when Fairyland (12/1) won the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five in the colours of Evie Stockwell, the mother of Coolmore owner John Magnier.

The three-year-old filly, a daughter of Kodiac, held off the late challenge of her stable companion, So Perfect (12/1), under Donnacha O’Brien, by a short-head, with the British raider, Invincible Army (12/1) back in third for trainer James Tate.

The winning owner confirmed her star filly would be retired at the end of the season and sent to Coolmore’s super sire, Galileo.

The Ballydoyle handler doubled-up his Sunday Group 1 haul in the following event, The Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs, for which he trained 4 of the nine starters.

Ryan Moore sent eventual winner Love (6/1) into the lead in the closing stages, and with Roger Varian’s Daahyeh (13/8f) coming on the outside, the daughter of Galileo held off William Buick on the favourite by three-quarters-of-a-length, with 16/1 shot So Wondeful and Séamie Heffernan another three-parts-of-a-length further back in third place.

Buffer Zone (11/2jf) got Ger Lyons and Colin Keane off to a start when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap by a length-and-three-quarters ahead of the other joint-favourite Make A Challenge, with Gulliver (9/1), trained in England by Fermoy, Co. Cork-born David O’Meara, who got going late in the race, a short-head further behind in third.

Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa stepped up to Group company, when winning the Moyglare Stud “Jewels” Blandford Stakes over 1m2f. Ridden by Colin Keane, the daughter of Shamardal, had to survive a Stewards’ Enquiry before being confirmed the 3/1 winner. Aidan O’Brien’s 15/8f was a length-and-a-half second, with another Ballydoyle horse, Credenza (8/1) half-a-length further back in third place.

Winning trainer Dermot Weld immediately nominated the Fillies and Mares Group 1 at Ascot on British Champions Day in October as the obvious next target for the Aga Khan-owned three-year-old.

Multiple-time National Hunt champion jockey Tony McCoy turned back the clock as the Co. Antrim-born rider won The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland at 4.50pm.

A race which included both former National Hunt and flat champion jockeys Charlie Swan, Ruby Walsh, Paul Carberry, Joseph O’Brien, Ted Durcan, Johnny Murtagh, Richard Hughes and Kieran Fallon, McCoy took the Sheila Lavery-trained favourite Quizical (11/4f) to victory, giving him the bragging rights over Rugby Walsh, who was second on Aussie Valentine (12/1), with Johnny Murtagh third on Red Star (9/2).

The penultimate race, the €300,000 Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sales Stakes over six furlongs, saw the British raiders dominate as Michael Bell’s Stone Circle (12/1), under jockey Andrea Atzeni led home a 1-2-3 for the visitors.

Archie Watson’s Maystar (14/1), under Hollie Doyle was second, with Hugo Palmer’s Hamish Macbeth (9/4) third in the hands of Ryan Moore. Prince of Naples (16/1) for Sheila Lavery and Robbie Colgan were best of the home contingent in fourth spot.

The final event of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, The Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap over a mile and 2 furlongs, saw One Cool Poet (12/1) take the victory for trainer Matthew Smith and jockey Billy Lee.



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