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Search For A Song powers to Irish Leger repeat at the Curragh

Elsewhere, Thunder Moon powered home to win the National Stakes.

Search for A Song.
Search for A Song.
Image: PA Images

SEARCH FOR A Song landed back-to-back renewals of the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh, as former champion apprentice Oisin Orr won the biggest race of his career.

It was a different story to 12 months ago, as while Search For A Song was in front a mile out on that occasion under Chris Hayes, this time Orr had her switched off and was the last to challenge deep inside the final furlong.

Andrea Atzeni must have felt confident as he hit the front on Roger Varian’s Ebor winner Fujaira Prince, with everything else seemingly in trouble.

Orr had yet to fully ask for everything on the filly, though, who had not won since her famous success last year, although she had run an eyecatching race when not beaten far by Magical in the Tattersalls Gold Cup in July.

When her stamina began to kick in close home, it seemed inevitable that the 7-1 chance would get up and in the end she was a comfortable winner.

2020-galway-summer-festival-day-two-galway-racecourse File photo of Dermot Weld. Source: Niall Carson

It capped a memorable day for Dermot Weld, who also took the Prix Vermeille with Tarnawa in Paris.

Weld, who trained the last back-to-back Leger winner in Vinnie Roe, said: “It’s been a special day, especially when you win your ninth St Leger.

“I had one horse win four back-to-back (Vinnie Roe), Vintage Crop won it twice and now she has, too.

“I’d trained her for the day for a long time, I also wanted to get that Group One over a mile and a quarter (black type) into her so people didn’t think she was just a staying mare.

“You saw what the filly that beat her, Magical, did (in the Irish Champion Stakes) so I was quietly confident she’d win today.”

He went on: “I thought it was a lovely ride from Oisin Orr, he’s only 23 the other day but he switched her off beautifully and I was confident turning for home that we’d win.

“He gets horses to relax very well. I need to be very fair to Chris Hayes as he rode her beautifully last year too, they all have their own talents. I don’t really have a number one but Oisin rides most of them, I do accept that. I think he has wonderful hands and he fills horses with confidence.

“When you win the Vermeille and the Leger on the same day with two fillies when you train 100 horses, which is a great number in Ireland these days – yes you still get a big kick.”

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Earlier, Thunder Moon ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on just his second start.

Joseph O’Brien’s youngster is now joint-favourite with some bookmakers for next year’s 2000 Guineas, such was the authority of his display.

The Group One contest was robbed of a little of its lustre when Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot winner Battleground was ruled out, but it still had the look of being the best race of its type this season.

There was no doubt Thunder Moon was being asked a big question after just one run – but the way he quickened up suggests he is a colt of the highest order.

Out of luck in the Moyglare half an hour earlier with Pretty Gorgeous – won by Donnacha O’Brien’s Shale – Declan McDonogh was briefly short for room when Master Of The Seas shot clear, but when a gap opened on the rail, Thunder Moon did not need asking twice and he quickly took advantage.

The son of Zoffany, sent of a 15-2 chance, soon put the race to bed and won by a length and a half from the staying-on Wembley, with St Mark’s Basilica third and Master Of The Seas fourth. Lucky Vega endured a troubled passage and was unplaced.

McDonogh said: “He quickened very well. I was just caught on heels a little and had to bite the bullet and sit and suffer, but he showed great heart when he got a bit of room.

“He was always giving me the feeling that he was going to run them down and he was very impressive. He was impressive the first day, but you never know what you’re beating.

“He’s got a serious will to win because when you are racing and it got tight he just wanted to run by them.”

He added: “The ground was as slow as he wanted, he has a real fast-ground action – fast ground suits him really well. He seemed like he was in third gear all the way.”

 

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