Panther sets sights on Leger
View from connections ahead of the Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger at the Curragh
Last Updated: 14/09/12 1:07pm
Aiken: Represents John Gosden in the Irish St Leger
A year on from his highly respectable second in the English St Leger, Brown Panther heads to the Curragh for a tilt at the Gain Horse Feeds-sponsored Irish version.
Tom Dascombe's colt, who is owned by the trainer's landlords Michael Owen and Andrew Black, was beaten three lengths by Masked Marvel on Town Moor and another decent run is expected in Kildare on Saturday.
After making an inauspicious return at his local track, Chester, Brown Panther won at Pontefract and was not at all disgraced when seventh in the King George.
Dascombe then used the same tune-up race as for the English Leger as Brown Panther produced another second-placed finish, this time behind Luca Cumani's Melbourne Cup-bound Mount Athos in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury.
"The trip and the ground should be ideal for him. It's a tough race but it's a Group One, so you'd expect it to be," said Dascombe.
"He's got an obviously good chance on form and while I think he was beaten by a better horse on the day at Newbury, conditions suited the winner and I think if the ground had been softer, Brown Panther could have won it."
Likely favourite will be Aidan O'Brien's Fame And Glory.
Although he dropped away tamely when odds-on for the race last year and did not cover himself in glory on his latest start in the Gold Cup, victories in the 2011 Gold Cup and Long Distance Cup have shown him to be a champion stayer on his day.
Tommy Carmody takes a chance with Andrew Tinkler's Royal Diamond, who was beaten just a neck by Willing Foe in the Ebor.
Tinkler's racing manager Tim Jones said: "We can stay closer to home and run him over a trip we know he is effective over.
"We are pitching him into a Group One for the first time, but it is probably the right Group One to be having a look at with a horse like him after his Ebor run.
"That was a cracking run. He has really built in confidence his year and is in great form.
"It was lovely to see him prominent all the way and still be in there fighting to the end in the Ebor.
"He came out of it so well and full of confidence. He seems to be thriving too, so there is no reason not to take our chance and let him run in the Irish Leger."
John Gosden, whose Duncan dead-heated with Jukebox Jury last year, sends over Aiken, while Christophe Lemaire flies over from France to partner the Aga Khan's Hartani, whose winning run was ended by Tinkler's Doncaster-bound Ursa Major in the Irish Leger trial.