Wicklow Brave faces tall order to repeat Irish St Leger heroics

Willie Mullins’s dual-purpose star held off Order Of St George in 2016 thriller

Willie Mullins accepts Wicklow Brave faces a "tall order" to win the Comer Group International Irish St Leger for a second time at the Curragh on Sunday.

The dual-purpose eight-year-old caught many by surprise 12 months ago when he defeated the 2015 Irish St Leger winner Order Of St George by half a length.

But Wicklow Brave was comprehensively outgunned by that rival in the Irish St Leger Trial at this track in August and is a big price to reverse the form with the Aidan O’Brien-trained stayer.

Mullins said: “He’s in good order. Hopefully he can run a little bit better than he did in the Trial the last day and if he does he might be able to pick up a share of the prize-money.


“It’s a tall order to repeat last year’s win but if we get a share of the prize-money we’d be delighted.”

Connections of royal runner Dartmouth believe he is unlikely to be knocked off his stride if conditions get testing.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by the Queen, the durable five-year-old agonisingly lost out by a nose to Montaly on his last outing in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

"He is in very good form," the Queen's racing advisor John Warren told the Daily Mail.

“With top-class horse you are always concerned about extremes of going but the ground when he won at York in the spring (Yorkshire Cup) was pretty ordinary and he coped very well.

‘He will run on the ground but, like everyone, we would prefer it was not hock deep.

‘He is exceptionally versatile and is the toughest, most genuine horse an owner could wish to have. Whatever he does, you know he will put in his best.

‘He is such an exciting horse to have anything to do with and the Queen gets tremendous pleasure out of him.“

Godolphin are represented by Twilight Payment, who is a consistent horse but has yet to win this year.

Jim Bolger’s inmate was last seen finishing third behind Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger Trial.

Jimmy Hyland, Godolphin's representative in Ireland, said: "Twilight Payment has a bit to find with Order Of St George, but it was a good run to finish second to him in the Saval Beg Stakes earlier this season.

“He won a Listed race on heavy ground at the Curragh this time last year so softer conditions shouldn’t be an inconvenience.

“He has been training well and we are hoping that he can run a good race,” Hyland told www.godolphin.com.