Moore Could Stay In Britain For St Leger On Board Sir Dragonet

Ryan Moore

Aidan O'Brien has said that his number one rider Ryan Moore may stay in England on Irish Champions Weekend to partner Sir Dragonet in the St Leger instead of riding some of his big shouts over at Leopardstown.

The Irish trainer has had a superb record over the last 20 years in the final Classic of the flat season at Doncaster, winning the contest six times including the last two renewals of the race.

Ryan Moore has had a big part to play with this riding his last two winners of the race with Kew Gardens last season and Capri back in 2017 but O'Brien has picked up four more with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003), Scorpion (2005), Leading Light (2013).

Last season Ryan Moore was able to race both in England at Doncaster and over in Ireland on the same day, flying straight from his St Leger win to race in the Irish Champion Stakes where he was narrowly beaten on board Saxon Warrior by the late Roaring Lion.

However, this will not be the case this season for Moore who will only be able to race at one course with the racing times over in Ireland being bought forward from last year's to avoid a direct clash with the All-Ireland senior football final replay on the same day, this also helps Japanese racing fans with Deirdre running for the Asian country.

Moore was allowed able time to travel over to Ireland for the Irish Champions Stakes last year but with now only 40 minutes between the St Leger and the feature Group One at Leopardstown this will not be happening this year.

(Credit At The Races) Aidan O'Brien said: “The jockeys are going to be a problem. We have plenty of jockeys here, but they are not going to be able to do the two.

“We always did the two, but we won’t be able to do two this time. This is the first time we can’t do the two and it doesn’t do any favours to anyone.

“I don’t know where Ryan will go. It wouldn’t surprise me if he would like to go to the St Leger. I will leave it to him to decide what he rides, but I’d imagine it might be him (Sir Dragonet).

“We’ve not discussed it as they have to get there healthy and that is why we don’t decide until a couple of days before.

“We have a great team of riders, but there are great riders in both countries and that weekend there will be good rides for everyone because there will be a big divide.”

He added: “Different times are grand, but wouldn’t you prefer to see them on different days? We all want to be at the St Leger and the Irish Champion Stakes – I think fans want to be at both.

“In this day and age we should be able to do something and come to a compromise – (maybe) one shift one day one year and the other shift another day the next year.”

Sir Dragonet on his first two starts this season looked like O'Brien's biggest Epsom Derby contender but could only finish fifth on the day and from there he was given a mid season break to be able to be fresh for the end of the season.

He had his first race back in the Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh last month and was disappointing when going off as odds on favourite and never running his true race, however O'Brien is still upbeat about his chances in big contests towards the end of the season.

He added: "Sir Dragonet had a break and the plan was then to go to the Curragh (for the Royal Whip) and we thought we would have a look at the Arc after that, (but) things are changing all the time.

“The St Leger is an important race and a very prestigious race and we felt there was a good chance he could get the trip.

“He is a horse that has plenty of class. We have been very happy with him since the Curragh, so it will be exciting to see how he goes.”

O'Brien holds another decent entry in the St Leger with II Paradiso who ran to a good standard last time out behind Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at the Ebor meeting just being pipped for second by Dee Ex Bee.

He could head to Doncaster a week on Saturday and the Irish trainer said: Il Paradiso is now very highly rated. He stays very well and that’s why we ran him at York – we thought it was worth him taking his chance and he had a low weight.

“He ran a very respectable race – it was a good run for a three-year-old.“It will be interesting to see him run, too.”