Dermot Weld ended Joseph O’Brien’s stranglehold on the Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes, as Shamida showed both class and courage to hold off Dawn Rising and set up a Group One tilt.
O’Brien had won the last two runnings of the Group Three contest and with Roger Varian’s Eldar Eldarov and Aidan O’Brien’s Library both non runners for the staying challenge, he was ultimately responsible for three of the four runners that headed to post at the Curragh.
Despite having numbers on their side, the Owning Hill-trained trio had no answer to Shamida, who tracked the pace set by Royal Ascot scorer Okita Soushi before being asked by jockey Chris Hayes to stride on two furlongs from home.
Having proven her stamina when claiming the Stanerra Stakes over this trip at Leopardstown, Hayes knew he had a willing partner underneath him and once Okita Soushi was beaten off, she had plenty in reserve to repel the closing Dawn Rising deep inside the final furlong as Shamida returned a half-length verdict as the 5-4 favourite.
Weld said: “She was in Cork on Friday night, but we withdrew her because of the ground. She’s a good-actioned filly and would never want the ground too soft.
“I’d say she will have one more run this year and I’d say it will be the Prix Royallieu, it’s the Group One mile-and-six for fillies and mares. It’s kind of written for her.
“This is a very game, tough three-year-old. She’s an immature filly and I think she will improve.
“Two of the horses there won at Royal Ascot and it was a very good trial.
“She’s a stayer with speed.”