Search For A Song targets hat-trick in Irish St Leger at the Curragh

Three-in-a-row for horse would see Dermot Weld claim a record 10th Irish Leger

Search For A Song will cement her status among an elite group if successful in her hat-trick attempt on Sunday's Comer Group Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

Earlier on Sunday Aidan O'Brien's hugely exciting three-year-old Snowfall will put her Arc credentials on the line in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp under Frankie Dettori.

That €600,000 contest on “Arc Trials” day in Paris is due off at 2.55pm Irish time.

Dettori partnered Snowfall to a superb 16-length triumph in the Epsom Oaks in June and is back on board due to Ryan Moore’s commitments at the Curragh.


It will be Snowfall’s 12th start, while, despite being a five-year-old, Search For A Song is set to have just her 13th career outing when the Leger starts at 4.40pm on the day two of Irish Champions Weekend.

If that indicates a rather mercurial talent then Search For A Song has been rock-solid for the last two years in winning the centrepiece of the Curragh’s leg of Irish Champions Weekend.

Superb effort

Her 2019 defeat of Kew Gardens was a superb effort for a three-year-old while there was an authority to her success over Fujaira Prince last year.

She joined a handful of other multiple winners since the Leger was opened to older horses in 1983, including two other Dermot Weld stars, Vintage Crop (1993-94) and Vinnie Roe (2002,02,03 & 04.)

Should Search For A Song pull off three in a row it will be a record 10th Irish Leger for Weld.

The difference is this time Search For A Song hasn’t run since May when running over an insufficient trip in the Tatts Gold Cup.

In contrast, some of her biggest threats in an all-domestic field, such as the Melbourne Cup hero Twilight Payment and the Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston, are all race-fit.

However, this has been Search For A Song’s target all season and the Weld team are in outstanding form.

Sonnyboyliston's trainer Johnny Murtagh has his eyes on a Leger double with Ottoman Emperor one of a six-strong Irish team lining up for the world's oldest classic at Doncaster on Saturday.

Murtagh never won the English Leger during his riding career but Ottoman Emperor, along with four Ballydoyle runners, and Fernando Vichi from Donnacha O’Brien’s yard, take on the hot favourite Hurricane Lane.

Outstanding performance

The Irish Derby winner subsequently landed the Grand Prix de Paris during the summer and is odds-on to secure a third career Group One.

Murtagh's other top-flight ambitions this weekend include Measure of Magic in Sunday's Derrinstown Stud Flying Five.

If Sunday’s Leger focus promises to be on “distaff” side then the same could apply in the big sprint.

Winter Power put up an outstanding performance to win the Nunthorpe at York with the form getting a perfect boost from Emaraaty Ana’s subsequent Haydock Cup victory.

Love is another star filly in action on Sunday and drops back to Group Two company in the Blandford Stakes while Ger Lyons’s supplementary entry for Cairde Go Deo looks significant in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column