Dermot Weld takes last Classic of the season as McCoy rolls back the years in Champions Race

Monday, September 16, 2019
LICW Champions Race

It was a day of champion performances and high emotion at the Curragh as Dermot Weld landed the final Classic of the season and a classy two-year-old trained in Britain marked himself down as a Classic contender of the highest order.
On a day when the racing world came to support Pat Smullen in his quest to raise funds for Cancer Trials Ireland and awareness of pancreatic cancer, it was almost written in the stars that the colours Smullen has worn to so much success, those of Moyglare Stud, were carried to victory in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger.
Chris Hayes gave a riding masterclass his predecessor would be proud of on Search For A Song who dictated the 1m6f Classic to win for Weld and Moyglare at 10-1.
Hayes revealed afterwards that a pre-race chat with Smullen was key to his tactical approach in a Leger that will be recalled for the daring of the rider in defiance of things going wrong, Search For A Song very keen but taking it up with around six furlongs to go.

"Nothing went right," Hayes admitted. "I'd a plan in my head and spoke to Pat. He didn't say a whole pile but what he said gave me the confidence that if I got in a rhythm, be it last, first or fifth, let her go.

"I knew early on I was getting in a row with her and there was no point. The Oaks was a mess here and I decided to do what I did. It was a great performance from her."
Earlier on the card Pinatubo had seasoned Curragh racegoers struggling for superlatives after an incredible nine-length rout in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes.
Charlie Appleby's colt, in the colours of Godolphin, trounced his rivals under William Buick in the premier two-year-old race of the season in Ireland, leaving his trainer in awe.

"James (Doyle) said at Goodwood in the first half of the race he wasn't really travelling; three down here it was worrying again. At home he won't pick the bridle up," Appleby said.

"He is a trainer's dream. I gave him a gallop during the week with some of the nicer two-year-olds, trying to give myself a bit of confidence and I think we did the reverse to be honest: they out-galloped him!

"You don't get confidence at home but at the track, what can you say? The way he has won there I see no reason why we do not go to the Dewhurst Stakes.

"I've been very lucky to have some nice two-year-olds so far but he's amazing. He just doesn't do it in the morning.

"We've seen the change in him over the past six weeks; people were saying is he just a two-year-old? I can't fault him."

The other Group 1 race, the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, continued Aidan O'Brien's amazing weekend, 12-1 Fairyland defeating stablemate So Perfect by a short head under Ryan Moore. Buffer Zone took the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. Stone Circle scooped the €147,500 prize for victory in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes under Andrea Atzeni for Michael Bell and the finale, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Northfields' Handicap, went to 12-1 One Cool Poet, who had created history by winning thrice at the Galway Festival for trainer Matthew Smith and rider Billy Lee this summer.

In truth, this was a hugely emotional day, with the Tony McCoy-ridden Quizzical landing a special win for a thrilled Sheila Lavery in the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland. "I can't believe they left McCoy alone in front," Smullen laughed, adding that he was "overcome" by the race.

Legendary former commentator Dessie Scahill called them home, while the other riders taking part were Ruby Walsh, Johnny Murtagh, Charlie Swan, Joseph O'Brien, Ted Durcan, Paul Carberry, Richard Hughes and Kieren Fallon.
Attendance for day two of Longines Irish Champions Weekend was 10,075, bringing the total weekend attendance 23,508.
Pat Keogh, CEO of the Curragh Racecourse, said: “We’ve had a wonderful Longines Irish Champions Weekend of racing where the action on the track truly lived up to the ‘Champions’ billing.
“On Saturday we saw some incredible racing with Magical and Irridessa taking the Group 1s, the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes.
“Today at the Curragh we had an incredibly fitting winner of the Comer Group International Irish St Leger with the Moyglare Stud-owned and Dermot Weld-trained Search For A Song.
“Pinatubo confirmed his sheer class in the Goffs National Stakes and Aidan O’Brien’s stunning weekend was capped with a classy victory for Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fairyland in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five.
“And nobody will forget the thrilling finish to the Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland, with nine champions giving their all, in support of their friend Pat Smullen.  AP McCoy and Sheila Lavery teamed up with Quizical to win and spark incredible scenes here at the Curragh.”

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