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Royal Diamond and Johnny Murtagh return after winning the Gain Irish St Leger Trial Stakes The Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann

Royal Diamond with trainer-rider Johnny Murtagh after their last success

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

Royal Diamond may miss Irish St Leger defence

ROYAL DIAMOND may miss Sunday's Gain Irish St Leger in favour of a crack at next month's BMW Caulfield Cup, a race he would be ineligible for if he defended his Curragh crown.

The Andrew Tinkler-owned gelding provided trainer Thomas Carmody and jockey Niall McCullagh with a memorable triumph in the race last year, but Johnny Murtagh, who now trains Royal Diamond, has indicated to Australian officials he could reroute his stable star and left him in the ultra-valuable 1m4f handicap on Tuesday morning.

Leigh Jordon, Racing Victoria's international recruitment officer, said: "Johnny Murtagh, the trainer and rider of Royal Diamond, has advised me that he is now considering a trip to Australia for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups rather than defending his Irish St Leger crown this weekend."

Confirmations for the Irish St Leger are also due on Tuesday and Jordon added: "The quarantine requirements mean he would be unable to do both so he will review the acceptances and advise me within the next 48 hours of his decision. Certainly it would be a coup for Caulfield if the Irish St Leger winner chose to compete in their race."

The promising Now We Can was also surprisingly left in the A$2.5 million (£1.47m) Caulfield Cup, which takes place on October 19, as were Dubai World Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux and American St Leger winner Dandino.

The Queen's Carlton House was taken out, but remains in the Sportingbet Cox Plate.

A host of big names stood their ground for that including Atlantic Jewel and Puissance De Lune, although New Zealand star Cauthen misses out as he is sore and set for a spell on the sidelines.

 
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