Melbourne Cup entrant Collier Hill (GB) defeated another Cup entrant and legend Vinnie Roe (IRE) to win the Group I Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Saturday.
Eight-year-old Vinnie Roe was attempting to win the St Leger yet again en-route to the Melbourne Cup, but he was denied the opportunity by Collier Hill and The Whistling Teal.
Vinnie Roe and jockey Pat Smullen took the lead 400m from the post and looked clear of the field. However, Collier Hill ridden by Dean McKeown and trained by Alan Swinbank, and The Whistling Teal challenged with 150m to run.
Collier Hill made the best run and finished 1/2L in front of The Whistling Teal, with Vinnie Roe 1 1/2L back. Yeats, another possible Victorian campaigner, was fourth. The time was 3.01.20.
Collier Hill has been allocated 55kg in the Melbourne Cup and he will most likely be penalised for the St Leger win. Vinnie Roe has 58kg.
Vinnie Roe’s trainer Dermont Weld thought that the horse’s interrupted racing schedule with a haeatoma had made the difference.
“'The hold up he had cost him two bits of work and while I was very pleased with his work this week he was probably 95 per cent and not 100 per cent today. I am so proud of the horse. His performance today was typical of him. He ran his heart out. The ground was perfect,” Weld told The Racing Post.
Weld said he would be finalising plans with the owners over the next week regarding the Melbourne Cup campaign.
It was Collier Hill’s 10th win and his first Group I.