Irish St Leger & National Stakes Betting Preview and Odds

There are no Breeders’ Cup golden tickets on offer for much of the card at the Curragh on Sunday, but the quality remains relentlessly high. Champion stayer Kyprios returns after a long absence to bid for back-to-back wins in the G1 Irish St Leger, potential top-notch two-year-old City Of Troy puts his unbeaten record on the line in the G1 National, and a deep, strong field of distaffers including Trevaunance, Jackie Oh, Unless and Araminta take each other on in the G2 Blandford.

Check the 2023 Irish St leger & National Stakes Recap

Breeders Cup Odds

Irish St Leger

G1, 600,000 euro, 1m 6f fast turf, 3yo+, 11.35am ET

Only a short field for the fifth and final Irish Classic of the year, a race that has lost a degree of its prestige but still rates as the nominal highlight at the Curragh on Sunday, the second and final day of the two-venue Irish Champions Festival.

The lack of runners probably has something to do with the presence of last year’s outstanding champion stayer Kyprios , a four-time G1 winner who is riding a six-race winning streak, including victory in this race 12 months ago, but has been on the bench for almost an entire year.

He had made a habit of only doing just enough in his races, winning his G1s by a half-length, a neck and by three-quarters of a length in this race in 2022, when he was eased late and value for more than the official margin. Then he blew that concept out of the water when demolishing the 2022 G1 Cadran at Longchamp by 20 lengths in deep mud, extending his lead dramatically through the last three furlongs despite hanging left across the track.

A joint infection kept Kyprios away from the races in the first half of the year, but he has recovered well and as long as he is tight enough to do himself justice he will be very hard to beat.

His barnmate Emily Dickinson is a G2 winner over course and distance and a big talent in her own right but a strong caveat applies to her, as she is a much better horse on soft turf, which is not on offer here.

On fast ground her lack of pace is magnified, and although she ran very well in the 2023 G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot when fourth, five and a half lengths ahead of seventh-placed Eldar Eldarov, and again when runner-up in the 2023 G1 Goodwood Cup with Eldar Eldarov right on her heels in fourth, she is always vulnerable without mud to slow the others up. If Kyprios is not Mr 100 per cent today, though, it is possible she could take advantage anyway.

Eldar Eldarov was a G1 winner in 2022 but has not carried that level of form into 2023, and has only hit the board once in his last four starts. At his best he could figure, and this looks his best distance, but he needs a major rebound.

Yashin made his stakes breakthrough over this distance in the 2023 G3 Levmoss at Leopardstown in May, scrambling by a short head with Dawn Rising two and a half lengths back in third, and Emily Dickinson a hugely disappointing sixth.

Normal service was resumed next time when Emily Dickinson beat Yashin by 14 lengths in the 2023 G2 Curragh Cup over course and distance, and Yashin is a little short on the necessary class for this. That also goes for the tireless galloper Dawn Rising, a Royal Ascot winner in the longest race in the calendar – two miles and five and a half furlongs – whose bottomless stamina is not such a trump card against top-rank opposition.

Irish St Leger Odds & Racing Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
KypriosRyan Moore+138
Eldar EldarovDavid Egan+333
Emily DickinsonSeamie Heffernan+333
YashinShane Foley+1200
Dawn RisingDeclan McDonogh+2500

Last year’s winner KYPRIOS has a big class edge and, as long as he is ready to rumble after almost a year off, should stretch his winning streak to seven.

National Stakes

G1, 400,000 euro, 7f fast turf, 2yo, 11.00am ET

Unlike the Champions Juvenile at Leopardstown the day before, Aidan O’Brien unleashes not one but two of his potential superstar two-year-olds in a very exciting renewal of the National, and both are already a fair way along the road towards the top.

It is two runs, two wins for City Of Troy, a well-bred son of Justify who looked good when he won on debut over course and distance and moved up a mile on his second start in the 2023 G2 Superlative at Newmarket over seven furlongs.

He was ridden forward, went to the lead a long way out and simply ran his rivals out of town, hosing a decent field by six and a half lengths and looking as though he would be happy to go longer, with Cuban Thunder beaten more than 13 lengths into eighth.

The runner-up won a G2 at Glorious Goodwood next time, giving the form a healthy boost, and City Of Troy is regarded as one of the very best prospects at the barn, the chosen one for a race his trainer has already won 11 times.

It is also two runs, two wins for his immaculately bred barnmate Henry Longfellow, a surprise but very welcome addition to the race as he was expected to wait for a date next month. His profile is very similar, with a debut success over course and distance followed by an instant upgrade to the 2023 G2 Futurity, again over course and distance.

He took command a quarter of a mile out and kept the heat on to beat course-and-distance debut winner Islandsinthestream, who could never lay a glove on him, by a comfortable two lengths. Henry Longfellow may have been left in the race as insurance against anything happening pre-race to City Of Troy, and may not take his chance anyway, but he is a big player if he shows.

However, both O’Brien’s colts will need to be in top order to see off Bucanero Fuerte, who is three-for-four and has improved with every start. He made his stakes breakthrough when re-rallying to grab the 2023 G2 Railway here over six furlongs, and looked a real hot ticket in the G1 Phoenix – again here over six – next time, when he asserted at halfway and drew off in the closing stages to score by four lengths, with Givemethebeatboys closing late for third, another length and a half further back.

His pedigree points to speed and the extra furlong today is certainly something to think about, although the way he finished off last time suggests he can stretch out.

National Stakes Odds & Racing Prediction

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
City Of TroyRyan Moore-120
Henry LongfellowSeamie Heffernan+350
Bucanero FuerteKevin Stott+400
GivemethebeatboysShane Foley+2800
IslandsinthestreamDeclan McDonogh+3300
Cuban ThunderGary Halpin+20000

There may be something special about CITY OF TROY, given the way he hacked up in a G2 last time, so he can move up again and remain unbeaten.

Blandford Stakes

G2, 200,000 euro, 1m 2f fast turf, 3yo+ females, 9.25am ET

The Blandford does not have the G1 cachet of Sunday’s other races at the Curragh, but what it lacks in A-list talent it makes up with its fiercely competitive nature, being the only Group-race all day without a strong favourite.

Aidan O’Brien is of course lavishly represented with four in the gate, and perhaps his best chance lies with Jackie Oh, who finally made the breakthrough at stakes level she had been promising when an easy winner of the 2023 G3 Rathbride at Gowran Park over a mile-eighth, improving for stretching out and the soft ground.

The extra yardage will suit but the fast ground won’t, although it will be fine for O’Brien’s second-string on jockey bookings Unless, a stakes winner over course and distance – with Alanya third, beaten three and a quarter lengths and barnmate Red Riding Hood a no-show ninth – before taking on older horses and colts in the 2023 G3 Royal Whip, again over course and distance. She tried to make all but was collared in the last half-furlong, and could again be a pace angle with her proven stamina.

Her barnmate Never Ending Story is getting class relief, having been a valiant runner-up in the 2023 G1 Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly but slammed in three G1s since. Like Chad Brown, O’Brien is no stranger to winning with his longshots, and Red Riding Hood would not be totally out of it either after winning the 2023 G3 Snow Fairy here over a mile-eighth, with Mashia a length back in third.

O’Brien’s son Joseph loads both barrels, with the slightly frustrating Lumiere Rock leading the line after a string of close-but-no-cigars, including when runner-up to recent G1 winner Warm Heart in the 2023 G2 Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half.

Lumiere Rock is arguably better cutting back, and can flip the form with her barnmate Caroline Street, who came out on top by a half-length when they filled the exacta in the ten-furlong 2023 G3 Blue Wind at Naas in May, but has been below that level on her last two starts.

The progressive Araminta was worth a little more than the official margin when beating a subsequent G3 winner by a length and a quarter in the 2023 G3 Chloe at Chantilly, and still has scope to move up further, while Trevaunance is – like Never Ending Story – getting class relief after finishing off the board in G1s on her last three starts. It will be appreciated, as she is a solid G2 filly at this distance and could well be ready to bounce back.

Insinuendo was runner-up, beaten just a neck, in this race 12 months ago but has struggled to repeat that level of form in 2023 and it will be a surprise if she can figure again.

Blanford Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Jackie OhRyan Moore+450
AramintaCollin Keane+500
Lumiere RockDylan Browne McMonagle+650
TrevaunanceShane Foley+800
InsinuendoW J Lee+1100
MashiaChris Hayes+1200
Never Ending StoryMikey Sheehy+1400
Red Riding HoodGary Carroll+1400
Caroline StreetOisin Murphy+1600
UnlessSeamie Heffernan+1600
AlanyaGavin Ryan+3300

Class relief may be the key and TREVAUNANCE, who has been banging her head against G1 rivals recently, takes the eye now returned to a lower level.

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