Make A Challenge heads the home challengers in the Flying Five for trainer Denis Hogan and jockey Joe Doyle, and is now competing against some of the best sprinters from across the UK. The ex-Godolphin runner has progressed from winning a handicap at Fairyhouse in May 2019 (off an official rating of 68) to securing a total of 10-career victories, including five at Listed level.
The five-year-old suffered defeat to A’Ali in the Sapphire Stakes in July, but has returned since with two Listed victories in both the Curragh Sprint Stakes and Abergwaun Stakes at Navan.
Despite his wonderful constitution for racing and his versatility at both 5 and 6 furlongs, good or soft ground, the only issue which remains a negative is his inability to win outside Listed company.
With that in mind, I’m looking more closely at the British challengers with GLASS SLIPPERS getting the verdict for trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Tom Eaves.
The former Prix de l’Abbaye winner has only raced twice this season and found Battaash too good on both occasions at Ascot and Goodwood.
An autumn campaign brought out the best in him last season with back-to-back wins in Paris and he can get back to winning ways to see off Nunthorpe second Que Amoro and the Crisford-trained A’Ali.
MASTER OF THE SEAS remains unbeaten following two victories at Newmarket on both the Rowley Mile and July courses this season for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin. He beat very little on debut in June, but managed to win when most of the Appleby juveniles on return to racing after the lockdown were backward and needing a first run for the season.
The son of Dubawi made the step up in grade look easy with success in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes, seeing off the Tom Dascombe-trained Devious Company by 3 lengths under William Buick.
He’s no Pinatubo at this stage of his career, but there’s plenty to like about his victory on the July course and he could surprise the leading home challengers in Battleground and Lucky Vega.
Battleground looks one of the best, if not the best juvenile for Aidan O’Brien this season with two victories from three career starts – both secured in the UK at Ascot and Goodwood. He was an eye-catching fifth behind Lucky Vega on debut at Naas, before landing the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in July under Ryan Moore.
Phoenix Stakes winner Lucky Vega is rated the best horse in the race for Jessica Harrington having reversed the form with Laws Of Indices on their Railway Stakes battle here in July.
Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last five renewals of the Irish St Leger and SOVEREIGN can add to that tally this Sunday afternoon by winning another classic.
The former Irish Derby winner returns for his third start of the season following defeats to Twilight Payment in the Vintage Crop Stakes and Enable in the King George at Ascot in July. Surprisingly after 11 career starts, Ryan Moore takes the ride on the four-year-old for the first time on Sunday with the jockey looking for his third Irish Leger success.
Race tactics will be interesting as always with the hope team Ballydoyle decide to continue with his front-running style, which could see him outrace Twilight Payment, Fujaira Prince and Micro Manage.
Twilight Payment finished seventh in this race last year behind winner Search For A Song, but has progressed nicely this season with victories in the Vintage Crop Stakes and Curragh Cup here this summer.
Fujaira Prince represents Roger Varian and is a fragile horse who needed every bit of the Varian team’s attention to detail and care this season to win both the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Ebor at York last month.
He’s got plenty of ability and deserves to take his chance on Sunday, while Micro Manage for Willie Mullins is lightly raced and another solid contender following his third placed finish to the improving Delphi here last month.
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