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September 07, 2010

Rite Of Passage heads list for Irish Field St Leger

Rite Of Passage heads a list of 17 horses for the Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh next Saturday

Janood and Pathfork are set for Vincent O’Brien National Stakes

THE two day Autumn Festival of Racing at the Curragh gets underway this Saturday with The Irish Field St Leger and the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes as the twin highlights on an excellent seven race programme, which also features the inaugural running of the Curragh Amateur Derby .

A total of 17 horses remain in The Group One Irish Field St Leger, including the much improved Charlie Swan-trained Rajik, which, following his recent Listed success at Galway, has been supplemented at a cost of 24,000 euro. Rite Of Passage, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup, and classy Profound Beauty have both been left in by their trainer Dermot Weld, while Aidan O’Brien can choose between Flying Cross, Joshua Tree and Lady Lupus for the final Irish Classic of the season. Recent Newbury scorer Sans Frontieres heads a strong British-trained challenge which also includes Kite Wood, Dangerous Midge, Eastern Aria, Halicarnassus, Opinion Poll and Tactic.

Pathfork has been supplemented to the Group One Vincent O’Brien National Stakes in which the unbeaten son of Distorted Humor will face a maximum of 12 rivals. Jessica Harrington’s exciting colt has won both his races at the venue, including when landing the Group Two Galileo  Futurity Stakes in emphatic style. The Godolphin owned unbeaten colt  Janood, which was also supplemented to the race, is the sole British-trained raider for the seven furlong contest. Aidan O’Brien has an envious record in this event and the Master of Ballydoyle has left seven in the race. Zoffany, winner of the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at this venue last time, has won five of his six races to date and he would appear to be the Ballydoyle number one.

Aidan O’Brien is also well represented in the Listed Irish Field Blenheim Stakes with eight of the 18 entries. Glor Na Mara, who also holds an entry in the National Stakes, would go off a short priced favourite should connections choose to run him in this race instead.

The Curragh Amateur Derby EBF Handicap has attracted an entry of 40 horses, including the Mark Johnson-trained Bay Willow which landed a big handicap at this venue earlier in the year. Other notable entries here are Admiral Barry, Dark Prospect, Fisher Bridge, Lastofthemohicans and Quench The Flame.

Saturday is also Bollinger Best Hat Day with fantastic prizes from Bollinger and the K Club for the lucky lady who is judged to be wearing the best hat.

The Curragh in association with the Independent Brewers and Distillers of Ireland has brought together some of Ireland’s finest micro brewers to showcase their products in order to create a special event as part of the Festival. This will take place over both days in the new Garden Enclosure close to the parade ring. 

The Curragh Racecourse in association with Horse Racing Ireland will celebrate the magnificent achievements jockey Michael Kinane by staging an exhibition of his racing successes. This exhibition will honour his many successes over three decades with a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a magnificent collection of memorabilia which will highlight his legendary career.

The first of seven races at the Curragh on Saturday commences at 2.10 pm