Leading Light pleases trainer Aidan O’Brien in his bid to join exclusive role of honour
Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather is a 33/1 for Sunday’s Group One race in Paris
Jim Bolger and son-in-law jockey Kevin Manning will be heading to Paris on Sunday with Trading Leather.
Just six Irish-trained horses have ever won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, including the dual-victor Alleged, and Leading Light is on course to get an opportunity this Sunday to join the most exclusive roll of honour in European racing.
Aidan O’Brien’s St Leger winner will have to be supplemented into the Arc at a cost of €100,000, along with the main home hope Treve, but the son of the 1999 Arc hero, Montjeu, looks like joining the Derby winner Ruler Of The World at the forefront of Ballydoyle’s challenge.
“The four horses are Ruler Of The World, Leading Light, Camelot and Kingsbarns. I think we’re going to supplement the Leger horse and then we’ll get closer to the weekend [before knowing] about ground because Camelot would only run if it was good or better,” O’Brien reported.
“Leading Light obviously hasn’t done a lot [since Doncaster] but everything he’s done we’ve been happy with.”
Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather is a 33/1 outsider for Sunday but more attention is starting to focus on Leading Light, as low as 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Last year’s race was notable for how Orfevre threw away victory by colliding with the rail in the closing stages but he was backed into 5/2 favourite yesterday.
Nevertheless, Leading Light is unbeaten this season, culminating in a resounding success in the Leger. However, no horse has ever won the St Leger and the Arc in the same season.
Alleged met his only career defeat in the 1977 Leger, prior to his first Arc victory. Nijinsky completed his Triple Crown in the 1970 Leger but famously got edged out in Paris. The first ever Irish Arc winner, Ballymoss, scored at Longchamp fifty five years ago, having landed the Leger the season previously.O’Brien memorably landed the Arc in 2007 with Dylan Thomas.
Frankie Dettori’s career rehabilitation after his drugs ban would be complete if Treve can maintain her unbeaten record on Sunday and French hopes will also rest with the Prix Du Jockey Club winner Intello whose jockey, Oliver Peslier, would secure a unique position as the most successful rider in Arc history if he wins.
Roger Charlton is hoping there is some cut in the ground for the Arc as his triple-Group One winner Al Kazeem attempts to regain winning form. Current forecasts indicate a dry weekend in Paris although there is a chance of thunderstorms before that.
The international nature of this year’s Arc is emphasised by Johnny Murtagh’s presence on the German star Novellist and the Irish jockey will be busy at Longchamp this weekend with a number of other Group One rides. Gordon Lord Byron will attempt to successfully defend his Prix la Foret crown while Eddie Lynam sends Sole Power for another crack at the Prix de l’Abbaye.FROM: Brian O’Connor