All eyes on Kyprios return in Irish St Leger

Kyprios makes his long-awaited return to action in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained chestnut asserted himself as the new star of the staying division last season, enjoying a superb Group One winning streak that included the Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup, the Irish St Leger and the Prix du Cadran.

A setback then stalled his career and he has not been seen since the latter victory, leaving the long-distance races he would have contested open in his absence.

The five-year-old has been limbering up for a comeback and day two of the Irish Champions Festival will be the scene as he looks to retain the title he won 12 months ago.

Fiona Craig of owners Moyglare Stud said: “I’m not sure he’s quite there yet, but I think he’s ready to run. I know he had a racecourse gallop at the Curragh a good few weeks ago, so we’ll see.

“He’s just a bigger horse than he was before and I think they’ve gone steadily with him because of the injury, but I don’t think Aidan would be running him if he didn’t think he was going to run well.

“It will just be great to see him back at the races because he’s a very popular horse, there’s more people ask me about Kyprios than anything else we own!

“He’s the horse that wherever you are in the world, people ask you about the big chestnut horse.”

Taking him on is last year’s English St Leger winner, the Roger Varian-trained Eldar Eldarov.

The four-year-old is yet to come home in front this term but has run with credit in the top contests at the distance, finishing second in the Yorkshire Cup, seventh in the Gold Cup and fourth in the Goodwood Cup.

He was an intended runner in the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh last month, but he became unsettled on the journey over and was withdrawn after the decision was made to bring him home.

“He’s been knocking on the door at this level this season,” said Chris Wall, racing manager to owners KHK Racing.

“Obviously we’ve got to take on Kyprios and Emily Dickinson, they look to be the main dangers over in Ireland.

“He’s in good form and we’re hoping for a good run from him.

“Obviously a Kyprios in tip-top condition would be a difficult task for him, but he’s coming off a considerable lay-off so we might have an advantage there.

“We were only narrowly behind Emily Dickinson at Goodwood last time and I would have thought it would have been pretty close between those two again.

“We go there chance, hopefully he can get his first victory of the year in this race.”

O’Brien has a second runner in Emily Dickinson, winner of the Curragh Cup and second in the Goodwood Cup when last seen, with Joseph O’Brien’s Dawn Rising and Jessica Harrington’s Yashin completing the field of five.

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