The Irish St Leger Trial Stakes (Friday 16 August, 6.15pm) is a Group 2 race run over 1 mile and 6 furlongs at the Curragh. It is a trial for the Irish St Leger, Ireland’s fifth and final classic of the season, which differs from the English version as horses older than three are allowed run in it.
The Irish St Leger Trial Stakes was established in 2011, before which it was known as the Ballycullen Stakes. In three of the last four years, Order Of St George (twice) and Flag Of Honour have won both the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes and the Irish St Leger in the same year.
Check out our 10-year-trends, runner-by-runner guide, and free tip for the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes 2019.
Irish St Leger Trial Stakes 10-Year-Trends
Aidan O’Brien has dominated the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes recently, winning the last five editions with three different horses, two of which were ridden by son Donnacha O’Brien.
Winners in the last decade have been as young as three and as old as seven. Six had won their last race, whilst another three had finished second or third, and the other had finished fifth. Those winners had also run in the last 16 to 66 days.
Eight of the last 10 winners have been returned at 7/2 or less but there have been a couple of bigger-priced winners at 10/1 and 14/1.
Irish St Leger Trial Stakes Runner-By-Runner Guide
Master Of Reality
Lightly-raced 4-year-old that is trained by Joseph O’Brien. He has run two incredible races at big prices this season, winning a Group 3 over today’s distance at 33/1 and when third over 2½ miles in the Ascot Gold Cup at 66/1. That last run earned him a 10lb rise in the weights to a mark of 118, making him the highest-rated horse in the field, but he’s only won just one of his four races at today’s distance and must carry a penalty. He’s yet to race at the Curragh, but the course should suit his front-running style.
Aidan O’Brien trains the 2017 English St Leger winner, who was rated 120 after that success, but his current mark of 113 probably still flatters him on the balance of his form in the last two seasons, which has generally been regressive. He’s clashed with Master Of Reality on three occasions this season, beating him when in receipt of 5lb, but finishing behind him on the other two occasions. In receipt of 3lb here, he has a theoretical chance of beating Master Of Reality, but he’s on a seven-race losing streak. However, it’s possible that this former Irish Derby winner could enjoy returning to the Curragh where his form figures are 2/1/1.
Second runner for Joseph O’Brien and this improving sort looked quite impressive when stepping up to 14-furlongs for the first time at Down Royal. However, the two horses that chased him home have done nothing to boost that form since and he looks up against it on a mark of 101.
The second of this year’s runners from the Aidan O’Brien stable. He won twice as 3-year-old over staying trips and the ran some cracking races in defeat at Royal Ascot, in last year’s edition of this race, and in the English St Leger. He’s continued to run to a similar level of form this year, chasing home Stradivarius on a couple of occasions. He also wasn’t beaten far by Master Of Reality over this trip on his seasonal debut and a 3lb pull at the weights entitles him to go close.
Third runner for Joseph O’Brien but this 101-rated runner looks outclassed on the evidence of this season’s runs, which included being well-beaten by Master Of Reality earlier this season.
Amazingly, the fourth runner trained by Joseph O’Brien in this year’s sextet of runners. However, he’s the lowest-rated on a mark of 98 having run fifth in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. The winner of that race Dashing Willoughby has since been well-beaten in the Good wood Cup, suggesting Eminent Authority has plenty of improvement to find if he is to beat his elders.
Irish St Leger Trial Stakes Summary 2019
The name O’Brien will definitely appear on the trophy this year, but it will be one of Aidan O’Brien’s two runners or one of Joseph O’Brien’s four that lift the prize.
Eminent Authority, Cimeara, and Downforce look unlikely winners on ratings, so it should be a question of whether Master Of Reality can hold off Capri and Southern France.
Capri could be revitalised by a return to the Curragh but, for a while, he hasn’t looked anything like the horse that won the Irish Derby here. By contrast, Southern France looks in better form but has failed to place on his two previous visits to the Curragh.
Master Of Reality also has to prove he likes the Curragh, having not raced here before, but front-runners have prospered at the track this year and he has the form in the book to suggest he’s capable of conceding weight all-round.