Champion stayer Kyprios (8/11f) won his third Group 1 race in succession as he took the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Sunday.
The 1 mile 6 furlong contest, the final Classic of the Irish flat season and the highlight of Day 2 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, is open to all ages unlike the other Irish Classics which are restricted to three-year-olds.
Kyrpios, winner of the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup respectively in his last two races, is trained by Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle Stables. The victory was a first in the race for the Irish champion trainer since the victory of Flag Of Honour in 2018.
Owned by the Coolmore partners and Moyglare Stud Farm, and carrying the stud’s famous black, white and red colours, Kyprios, a son of Galileo out of the Danehill mare Polished Gem, remains unbeaten this season, with five wins from five.
The four-year-old began his 2022 campaign with a victory in the Listed Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan and then won the Group 3 Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown. He then went to Royal Ascot, England, and defeated Mojo Star and the former Gold Cup champion Stradivarius. He followed this up with a battling neck success over Stradivarius in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup at the Glorious Goodwood meeting in England.
In the Comer Group International Irish St Leger 2022, the Ryan Moore-ridden Kyprios battled it out with William Haggas’ English raider, the six-year-old Hamish (5/1). The winning margin was three-quarters-of-a-length, with Kyprios’ brother Search For A Song (16/1), a dual Irish St Leger winner, finishing in third place, also in the Moyglare Stud Farm colours, a further seven lengths behind the runner-up.
As well as being a brother to Search For A Song, Kyprios is also a brother to the Listed winner Falcon Eight, and is a half-brother to another elite winner in Free Eagle.
The champion trainer Aidan O’Brien said of his winner:
“He’s very tough. He’s very relaxed. He’s always only in the gear that you want. Ryan (Moore) gave him a great ride. He’s a great horse to have. He’s a horse that gets a trip but he’s a lot of class and he’s very relaxed, which is a massive help. It helps him to get the trip. He’s very brave, very clear-winded, good mover and a great mind. It’s a pleasure to have him.”
O’Brien was unsure directly post-race where Kyprios would next race but admitted that returning to Royal Ascot next June to defend the Gold Cup would be a 2023 priority.
“It’ll depend on what everyone will want to do with him. He could go back to a mile and a half but obviously we would love to have him around for the Gold Cup for the coming years. He is a unique horse really.”
When asked if October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over the shorter distance of a mile-and-a-half might now be on the winner’s radar, the Master of Ballydoyle conceded:
“We’ll see what everybody thinks and what way the ground is going to be (in ParisLongchamp for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe). He is only four and for a stayer he’s very young. As we saw today, he only does the minimum so it’s very hard to know what’s in there really.”
Photo: Kyprios (David Betts)