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Panther strikes in Leger

Brown Panther caused an upset in the Irish Leger, profiting from a brilliantly canny ride from Richard Kingscote to record his first victory at the highest level. It was also a first Group 1 victory for trainer Tom Dascombe and the 6yo’s famous owner Michael Owen and was a fully deserved victory for the consistent son of Shirocco.


Despite winning the Ormonde Stakes and Henry II Stakes, as well as fine performances in the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, Brown Panther was sent off a 14/1 shot for the Curragh showpiece. His Gold Cup conqueror Leading Light was sent off the 9/10 favourite but could only manage second in what was to prove a pretty messy race.


Leading Light’s stable mate Eye Of The Storm was used as a pacemaker for the favourite and the rest of the field were content enough to let him open up a big gap, that is apart from Brown Panther who was kept just of the leader by the canny Kingscote. The calm and collected Kingscote eventually sent his charge to the head of affairs three furlongs out and having taken a couple of lengths out of the field in an instant, pretty much put the race to bed with a tough staying performance.


The remainder of the field tried with all their might to reel in the leader but Brown Panther was not for stopping and kept on extremely gamely to record victory by an astonishing 6 1/2 lengths. Leading Light, who had again given Joseph O’Brien a tough time in the saddle with his lazy running style, finished second, with 2012 British St Leger winner Encke back in third.


Winning trainer Dascombe said:  “He was beaten a head and a short-head in this race a couple of years ago and I screamed and screamed and yet here I hardly made a noise – it just always seemed to be going to plan,” he smiled.


“The first thing to say is that Richard gave him a brilliant ride. It’s just worked out today.


“We have been having a real lean time. We didn’t manage to have a winner last week and I was close to pulling him out, but there aren’t too many Irish St Legers so you have to run. The horse never lets us down.


“He won’t go to Australia (for the Melbourne Cup). He’ll go for the Champions race at Ascot (Long Distance Cup) if he’s all right in the morning.


“We are thinking about giving him a few races in Dubai. He’ll probably run for one more season.


“It’s my first Group One winner and couldn’t have come at a better time.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: PA Wire


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