Eldar Eldarov will be given a sighter of the Curragh on Sunday when he makes a raiding mission to Ireland for the Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes.
Roger Varian’s St Leger hero could set up a shot at the Irish equivalent on September 10 with a strong showing in the Group Three contest as he seeks his first victory since scooping Classic honours at Doncaster last term.
Having begun the current campaign with a pleasing performance in the Yorkshire Cup, the son of Dubawi was below-par when well held and only seventh in the Ascot Gold Cup.
However, he bounced back with a respectable effort to finish fourth behind runaway winner Quickthorn in the Goodwood Cup and connections feel this is the ideal spot to search for a confidence-boosting triumph.
“That was a funny race, as we know, and Tom Marquand stole it from the front,” said Chris Wall, racing manager for owners KHK Racing Ltd, reflecting on Eldar Eldarov’s showing on the Sussex Downs.
“He acquitted himself well and David Egan was the first to go after and chase Tom Marquand in the straight and, in actual fact, Eldar could have done with being waited with that little bit longer.
“This is an obvious place to go and looks a good opportunity to get back in the winning groove.”
Joseph O’Brien has won this the past two seasons and is well represented in his hat-trick bid, with Royal Ascot scorers Dawn Rising and Okita Soushi, as well as the useful Point King, representing the Owning Hill handler.
Aidan O’Brien’s Library steps up in trip following her third in behind Savethelastdance in the Irish Oaks, while the six-strong line-up is completed by Dermot Weld’s hat-trick seeking Shamida, who registered her first Group-level success when taking the Stanerra Stakes in July.
Also on the card, Unless will attempt to give Ballydoyle back-to-back victories in the Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes as she steps up in grade following her recent course-and-distances victory in the Listed Michael John Kennedy Memorial Irish EBF Stakes.
The Group Three contest was won by Luxembourg last term and although there may not be that sort of quality in this year’s renewal, there is a handy cast of seven heading to post which includes Noel Meade’s pair of Layfayette and Helvic Dream, as well as Gladness Stakes winner Goldana.