Weld signals Search for a Song to take chance in French St Leger

Irish handler sending former dual Irish Leger star to Longchamp for Prix Royal Oak

Having opted out of British Champions Day, Dermot Weld is now targeting French St Leger glory with Search For A Song this Sunday.

The former dual-Irish Leger heroine skipped Ascot’s Group Two Long Distance Cup to wait instead for Longchamp’s Group One €350,000 Prix Royal Oak.

It is 20 years since Weld landed the race with the four-time Irish Leger winner Vinnie Roe and Search For A Song is on course to try and bridge that gap.

The Moyglare Stud-owned mare was out of the money in her hat-trick attempt on the Curragh Leger over Champions Weekend but subsequently impressed with a 9½ length rout over two miles in the Loughbrown Stakes.


“Search For A Song will go for the Prix Royal Oak. She’s won two Irish St Legers so let’s see if she can win a French St Leger. We did it before with Vinne Roe who won four Irish St Legers,” said Weld.

“She’s in great form. She was very good the last day in the Curragh and we just hope they don’t get too much more rain in France,” he added.

Another Group One -winning Irish mare, Princess Zoe, was forced to miss out on the Long Distance Cup when found to be lame on the morning of the race.

She finished fourth behind Subjectivist in the last year’s Royal Oak and is still among the entries left in Sunday’s race ahead of this week’s forfeit stages.

Gowran card

Tuesday’s Gowran action includes a Group One performer as Sunset Shiraz tries to get off the mark at the seventh time of asking.

Gavin Cromwell’s juvenile filly could qualify as the best maiden in the country with form that includes finishing third to Discoveries in the Moyglare last month.

She has also been runner-up at Group Two level to Agartha (Debutante Stakes) and in a Group Three to Concert Hall (Park Stakes).

Sunset Shiraz runs in a mile maiden off a rating of 104 and neither the trip nor the testing ground should be an issue for this half sister to a Leger runner, Berkshire Rocco.

Cromwell will also fancy his chances in a later handicap through Wolf Prince.

His only other run on the flat for the Co Meath trainer was when third in this race a year ago. But this time Wolf Prince comes here on the back of a recent confidence boosting win over flights at Punchestown.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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