Today's racecards

Donn McClean considers Sunday's Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

Last Updated: 14/09/13 5:21pm

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Ernest Hemingway: A massive chance on good ground

Ernest Hemingway: A massive chance on good ground

Sky Bet

Somewhat curiously for a Classic, the (GAIN) Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday has not been won by a member of the Classic generation since Vinnie Roe won the first of his four in 2001.

Last year's winner Royal Diamond - Antipodean plans on hold for now - is back for more. Andrew Tinkler's horse is now seven, but he is in the form of his life. The performance that he put up to win the Irish St Leger Trial over Sunday's course and distance was up there with the best of his career, and this is his time of year.

The Johnny Murtagh-trained gelding had Ernest Hemingway five lengths behind him in third when he landed the trial race, but he was the beneficiary of an astute front-running ride from his trainer that day. Also, it is probable that that was not the Ballydoyle horse's true running.

Ernest Hemingway had beaten Royal Diamond by a half a length in the Ballyroan Stakes, and he had beaten him by five lengths in the Curragh Cup. He looked like a real Irish Leger horse that day, possibly a Cup horse for next year. Sent off as favourite for the Dante last year on the back of a 10-length maiden win at Dundalk, the Galileo colt has run just eight times in his life, and he has significant scope for progression. He would not want the ground to get too soft at The Curragh but, on genuinely good ground, he has a massive chance.

Both Dermot Weld fillies have real chances in a race that the trainer has won six times with two horses. Pale Mimosa has run just five times in her life, and she looked good in beating subsequent Galway Hurdle heroine and Monday's Listed race winner Missunited in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown in July on her only run this term to date, while Voleuse De Coeurs looked good in beating the same Missunited in a listed race at Navan in May, and has very little to find with Royal Diamond and Ernest Hemingway on the book. Pat Smullen rides Pale Mimosa, and that could be significant.

Red Cadeaux is a player if the rains arrive, and you would never have believed at the start of the season that Saddler's Rock would be a 20/1 shot for the Irish St Leger. A return to last year's Goodwood Cup form would give John Oxx's horse a favourite's chance, as long as the rains stay away.

Still all about the rains so.

For more of Donn's thoughts, visit www.donnmcclean.com.

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