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Another rip-Roaring weekend to look forward to

14 Sep 2018

ROARING LION (Oisin Murphy)

Saturday sees me head over to Leopardstown to ride on the first day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend but, first things first, there’s the not so small matter of the William Hill St Leger to unpick.

It looks a really fascinating renewal and scanning through the field there are a handful of horses that you could make a really strong case for.

Of the market principals the one that I’d side with would be the filly, Lah Ti Dar. She could hardly have been more impressive when winning the Galtres Stakes last time out and I think the step up to 1m 6f won’t inconvenience her one bit. She hit the line hard that day at York and the flat galloping nature of Doncaster will suit her style down to the ground.

Of the colts I think Kew Gardens is the most likely to give Lah Ti Dar a run for her money. He ran a really eye-catching race when staying on under a penalty to finish 3rd in the Great Voltigeur Stakes and with Aidan O’Brien’s horses coming back to form I think he’ll run to a high level.

But, with the sex allowance on her side, John Gosden’s filly is the one they all have to beat and she’d be my choice.

While I’ll be doing my best to watch the action at Doncaster my mind will very much be focused on the super high-quality Saturday card at Leopardstown. My principal ride of the day will be two-time Group One winner Roaring Lion who goes in in the Irish Champion Stakes.

It’s hard to put into words how much I love this lad. He’s been the standout horse of my season and I’m buzzing at the thought of partnering him again tomorrow. If I could get on him now and ride the race then I wouldn’t hesitate!

All reports from his work rider Kieran O’Neill have been positive since his win in the Juddmonte International and we’re extremely hopeful that he’ll produce another big performance.

Aidan O’Brien saddles four in the race, headlined by our old foe Saxon Warrior. It’s now 3-2 to us in career head-to-heads and hopefully we can stretch that lead to 4-2 this weekend. I’m drawn in stall 8 on the outside which I’m actually pleased with as it gives us a little more choice about where we want to sit in the early stages of the race.

One horse I’ll be keeping a close eye on is the French Derby winner, Study of Man. One could easily be drawn into the assumption that they’ll look to drop him out the back and come with a late charge as that tends to be the way that French horses are ridden.

Stephane Pasquier is a very clever rider though and I don’t doubt they could change tactics to give the horse what they think is the best chance to win.

Of my other rides on Saturday, I’d guess a few National Hunt fans will be surprised to see me get the leg up on former Cheltenham Festival winner Limini for Willie Mullins in the Premier Handicap.

I haven’t had the chance to speak to Willie yet, but I’m obviously thrilled to get the call up. She’s always been held in very high regard and I’m looking forward to getting the famous Rich Ricci pink and green silks on for the first time.