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Sir Dragonet expected to leave Curragh flop behind and bounce back in St Leger

Sir Dragonet: on course for the St Leger
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William Hill St Leger market mover Sir Dragonet is expected to take a significant step forward from last month's disappointing defeat at the Curragh according to trainer Aidan O'Brien, who will also turn to the well-fancied Il Paradiso in his bid to win a seventh Doncaster Classic.

Sir Dragonet, who was sent off 11-4 favourite for the Derby on just his third start, could be backed at 12-1 for Saturday week's St Leger in the aftermath of his flop in the Group 3 1m2f Royal Whip Stakes.

However, he has been the subject of recent support and on Wednesday was no bigger than 4-1 in a market headed by Great Voltigeur winner Logician, who has also been confirmed as on target for the race.

Aidan O'Brien poses with St Leger candidates Sir Dragonet (left) and Il Paradiso

O'Brien said: "We have been very happy with him since the Curragh, so it will be exciting to see how he runs.

"He's had a break and the plan was always to go to the Curragh, we thought we'd start there. He was just ready to start and he got a little bit tired, which he was entitled to do. I was being very careful and very gentle with him. He's a very decent horse."

William Hill St Leger prices

5-4 Logician
7-2 Sir Dragonet
13-2 Il Paradiso
10-1 Sir Ron Priestley
14-1 bar

Like most of the field Sir Dragonet will be stepping up in trip at Doncaster, with the distance of 1m6½f posing a new test. However, O'Brien is optimistic that the son of Camelot – who is the likely mount of Ryan Moore should the rider be at Doncaster and not Leopardstown – will be up to the challenge. 

O'Brien said: "He's never run over anything less than a mile and a half other than last time and we started him at a mile and a half, so there's a good chance he will get the trip, but he's not short of pace."

Il Paradiso (centre): tries to reel in Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York with Dee Ex Bee to his outside

Il Paradiso, on the other hand, has been campaigned over staying trips all season and arrives on the back of an excellent effort behind Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee in the 2m½f Lonsdale Cup at York last month.

The Ballydoyle trainer believes the son of Galileo is potential Gold Cup horse for next season, but does not believe the drop in trip will cause a problem for the 13-2 third favourite.

"He looks like a horse who will get the Gold Cup trip but I think he will be happy enough," said O'Brien. "He will go forward, he doesn't mind that.

"We will be riding him like we're sure that he will stay and we will take our time with Sir Dragonet."

The Qipco Irish Champion Stakes on the same day as the St Leger could be without ante-post favourite Japan as O’Brien suggested the Juddmonte International winner was more likely to head straight to the Arc, with Magical spearheading his Leopardstown challenge instead.

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I was being very careful and very gentle with him. He's a very decent horse
E.W. Terms