Group 2 and 3 Headline Acts for this Weekend’s Runners

A very quiet weekend for OTI with just three runners. Kicking off with Downdraft in the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial Stakes on Friday evening at The Curragh for Joseph O’Brien. In what is solely an O’Brien affair, the race has just six runners – two for Aiden and four for Joseph.

The field is a small, yet strong contest with Capri being a dual classic winner and Master of Reality a Royal Ascot Gold Cup third placegetter. Amongst the runners, Downdraft looks to be a very progressive horse and will likely have more to offer at this distance. With further rain expected in Ireland leading into the race, Joseph has slight hesitations in his potential performance on soft ground. Having won three starts from his last five runs this preparation, we are looking forward to seeing a competitive effort from this classy Camelot colt.

Downdraft’s Listed win last start:


On Saturday we turn to Benitoite at Caulfield, who now has four wins from six starts, as she looks to continue her winning streak. After a brilliant track gallop, she has progressed well following her win in the VOBIS Gold Reef. In what was an impressive effort, Benitoite ran home in 35.18secs, clocking 11.52secs and 11.62secs for the final two furlongs. She will relish the added distance and Clinton McDonald believes she will be figuring in the finish.

Benitoite after winning the VOBIS Gold Reef. 

Rounding out the weekend is another live chance with Haky running in the Group 2 Kergorlay at Deauville in France. The Irish bred ranks a little lower in the ratings than his rivals, however, his very strong win in his last start over 2400m gives us the confidence he has what it takes for the Group 2 quality. Trainer John Hammond has been nothing but impressed with the horse this time in and knows he can run out a strong race.

We would like to wish the connections of each OTI runner the best of luck and happy racing this weekend!

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O’Brien family make up all the numbers in sizzling St Leger Trial

Now this is what you call keeping it in the family….A Group 3, worth €100,000 in prize-money, and only the O’Briens are involved. Joseph is responsible for two-thirds of the field and his father, Aidan, has the remaining third.

Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh

| 1m6f | Group 3 | 3yo+|


This is officially a trial for the Irish St Leger and it has done exactly what it has said on the tin in recent years with three of the last four winners going on to win the real thing the following month – Order Of St George [2015, 2017] and Flag Of Honour [2018].

You would not bet against this year’s winner repeating the feat on the big stage during Irish Champions Weekend as three of the six runners are rated 112 or higher.

Master Of Reality comes into the race on the back of a terrific third to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Ascot, while the fact Donnacha O’Brien is on the hat-trick-seeking, OTI owned Downdraft speaks volumes.

Joseph O’Brien said of his runners: “Downdraft is improving all the time and this is the next step up the ladder. I wouldn’t want the ground to get too soft for him. Master Of Reality ran really well at Ascot and stepped up hugely on what he had shown previously. He’s done well since and is in good form.

“Eminent Authority ran a nice race at Ascot but just met traffic in running so was a bit unlucky, while it would be great if Cimeara could pick up a bit of black type.”

It is rare Aidan O’Brien is outnumbered in Pattern races but he still has two solid chances in the shape of Capri and Southern France.

To view the final race field for this evening, please CLICK HERE.

We look forward to seeing Downdraft take his place in the St Leger Trial Stakes and hope to see another flying finish!


Article: Racing Post
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