Last year’s St Leger hero Eldar Eldarov will bid to add the Irish equivalent to his CV when he heads to the Curragh on day two of the Irish Champions Festival.
It promises to be a big weekend for Roger Varian, who is poised to saddle crack middle-distance colt King Of Steel in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 9, while 24 hours later his star stayer will attempt to get back to winning ways and register his first success since his Doncaster Classic triumph 12 months ago in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger.
The son of Dubawi was due to run at the Curragh in the Group Three Leger trial there earlier this month, but got worked up in the early stages of the journey to Ireland and was subsequently declared a non-runner.
Connections will now be hoping for a smoother trip when Eldar Eldarov heads to the Kildare track for his intended outing on September 10.
“He wasn’t travelling very well and we don’t know why because he’s never had that problem before,” explained Chris Wall, racing manager for owners KHK Racing Ltd.
“He got upset travelling and they thought rather than carry on to Ireland they would bring him home. I think they had got into north Wales just beyond Chester.
“The worry was if you put him on the ferry and it deteriorated into something like colic then you are in the middle of the sea and you can’t do anything about it. He just got his knickers in a twist about something so they brought him home.
“The target for him is to go to the Irish St Leger and that is very much still on the cards at the moment. He’s grand and it’s all systems go for that.”
Wall also revealed that the KHK Racing-owned Sakheer is unlikely to take up his engagement in Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup on September 9, but hopes to see the Zoffany colt back in action at Ascot in the Qipco British Champions Sprint on October 21.
Also trained by Varian, last year’s Mill Reef winner was not disgraced in the 2000 Guineas earlier this year, but having failed to truly stay the mile has been off the track since his first run back over sprinting distances in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
“He’s had a few niggly things after Ascot, but he’s back in work and we’re hoping to run him in something this autumn,” said Wall.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready for the Haydock race, that’s not far away now so he won’t make that. But we hope we might have him back for a run perhaps in the Champions Sprint and we’ll go from there.
“It’s been one of those years really where things haven’t quite gone his way, but we hope we can get him back on track and if not we’ll have to hope things go right for him next year instead.
“It’s a tough year at three and if you miss your slots early, which he did, then you haven’t much else and any obvious route back into things. It’s tough, but we haven’t given up on him yet.”