Irish St. Leger Day: Race List & Meeting Info

Irish St. Leger Day at the Curragh takes place on a Sunday in mid-September. It completes the Irish Champions Weekend following racing at Leopardstown on the previous day for the Irish Champion Stakes Day.

The Irish St. Leger is the final Classic of the season in Ireland and just like the St Leger at Doncaster which takes place the day before this, horses must be successful stayers to be victorious, with the race run over one mile and six furlongs.

The day features a truly stellar card, with no fewer than five Group races on offer, including four Group 1 affairs. Along with the St. Leger, the other Group 1s are the Flying Five stakes, the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes. There's also the Group 2 Blandford Stakes, the 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap, the 'Northfields' Handicap and the €300,000 Super Auction Stakes.


Irish St Leger

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Irish EBF 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap   6f €125,000 3YO plus
Blandford Stakes Group 2 1m 2f €175,000 3YO plus
Flying Five Stakes Group 1 5f €250,000 3YO plus
Moyglare Stud Stakes Group 1 7f €250,000 2YO only
Vincent O'Brien National Stakes Group 1 7f €250,000 2YO only
Irish St. Leger Group 1 1m 6f €400,000 3YO plus
Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes   6f €300,000 2YO only
Irish EBF 'Northfields' Handicap   1m 2f €125,000 3YO plus

Irish EBF 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap


Run in association with the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders’ Fund, this sprint race is for horses aged three and over. It’s a Premier Handicap event, meaning that the handicapper gets involved with assigning rates according to the ability of the horses. Run over six furlongs, the prize money for the event is about €150,000 that goes to the winner.

Blandford Stakes

Group 2, 1m 2f

Open to fillies and mares aged three and over, the Blandford Stakes is run right-handed over one mile and two furlongs. It has the following weight information attached:

  • 3-year-olds: 9 stone 0 pounds
  • 4-year-olds and over: 9 stone 5 pounds
  • Group 1 race winners receive a penalty of 3 pounds

Named in honour of a successful sire that was around in the 1930s, the Blandford Stakes was originally contested over one mile and four furlongs and was open to horses of either sex. When it was run during the 1980s and the early part of the 1990s it was held in mid-October.

Shortened to one mile and three furlongs in in 1994, the race was a Group 2 offering until 1999 when it was dropped down to Group 3. That was also when it was moved to take place in mid-September. In 2001 it was given its current length and restricted to fillies and mares before regaining its Group 2 status three years later.

At the time of writing there are three horses that have won the race twice apiece: Nemain in 1985 and 1986, Red Bloom in 2005 and 2006 and Shamreen in 2016 and 2017. Liam Ward, Michael Kinane and Pat Smullen all have five wins to their names as jockeys during different era of the race's existence. Interestingly, Smullen is the only won to have won it twice on the same horse, riding Shamreen to both victories.

When it comes to the race's most successful trainer, no one can come close to Vincent O'Brien. He was responsible for fifteen different winners between 1959 and 1992. The O'Brien family definitely stakes a claim as being the most successful in the race, given that Aidan O'Brien won it twice in 2000 and 2012. John Oxx comes close to O'Brien's record with seven wins, whilst Dermot Weld has managed nine victories as trainer at the time of writing.

Flying Five Stakes

Group 1, 5f

The Flying Five Stakes has had a history that has essentially taken it on a tour of Ireland. Run at Phoenix Park as a Listed race, it was open to horses aged two and over. In 1991 it was transferred to Leopardstown, having been given Group 3 status three years before. It didn't make its way to the Curragh until 2002, which was also when it was upgraded to being a Group 2 offering.

It didn't last long with its new status, however. Having been shifted to being for horses aged three and over in 2003, it dropped back down to Group 3 the year after. It wasn't moved to be raced in mid-September until 2014, previously taking place in late August or earlier in September. 2014 was when it changed places with the Renaissance Stakes in order to become part of the Champions Weekend.

It regained its Group 2 status in 2015 and then in 2018 it became the first Group 1 sprint that took place in Ireland and was open to horses aged three and over. It's suggestive, perhaps, of a race that the authorities can't quite place in its pecking order. It has had a number of sponsors over the years, having the name of Market Slide included in its title when it was being sponsored by Moyglare Stud.

The race, which had Derrinstown Stud take over its sponsorship in 2014, was won three times in succession between Benbaun between 2005 and 2007. That's the most successful horse, being ridden by Jamie Spencer for one of the outings and Pat Smullen for the other two. Michael Hills, Ryan Moore and Willie Supple also have multiple wins to their names, but it's Michael Kinane who leads the way as a jockey in the race thanks to his six wins between 1985 and 2004.

In terms of trainers, several have won the Flying Five Stakes more than once. Mark Wallace enjoyed all three of Benbaun's wins, for example, with Henry Candy, Eric Alston and Aidan O'Brien also having more than one win as trainers. It's Dermot Weld that leads the way, however, having won it five times between 1985 and 1994, with all of those wins coming thanks to Michael Kinane's riding.

The modern version of the race is open to horses aged three and up and is run over five furlongs. Three-year-olds have a weight of nine stone and three pounds to work with, whilst horses aged four and over have nine stone and four pounds. Fillies and mares are both given an allowance of three pounds.

Moyglare Stud Stakes

Group 1, 7f

A Group 1 race, the Moyglare Stud Stakes is named after the Irish stud farm that has been a long-term sponsor of it. Previously run over six furlongs, it was a Group 3 race until gaining promotion to Group 2 in 1979. It was promoted further to become a Group 1 offering in 1983 and has remained at that level ever since.

Extended to be run over seven furlongs in 1992, it was moved to become part of Irish Champions Weekend in 2014. Five years earlier it had been added to the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, with the winner gaining an automatic invitation to take part in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in the US later in the year.

Limited to two-year-old fillies, the Moyglare Stud Stakes is run on a right-handed elbow over seven furlongs and has a weight of nine stone and zero pounds attached to it. As it's limited to two-year-olds, no horse has ever won it more than once. Christy Roche won it four times as a jockey between 1974 and 1980, however, to claim the title of the race's most successful jockey.

Just as the likes of Michael Kinane, Seamie Heffernan and John Reid have also won the race more than once as jockeys, so too have several trainers seen their horses be victorious in the race several times. Clive Brittain, Jim Bolger and Richard Hannon Senior are such examples. Even so, none of them come close to the nine wins for Aidan O'Brien between 2000 and 2019.

Indeed, the O'Brien family have a claim to being the most successful in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. As well as Aidan's nine wins Vincent O'Brien also saw horses that he trained win it twice in 1981 and 1990. Added to that is the fact that Donnacha O'Brien won the race twice as a jockey and Joseph O'Brien won it once as a jockey and once as a trainer. How long until it's called the 'O'Brien Stakes'?

Vincent O'Brien National Stakes

Group 1, 7f

In terms of wondering how long it will be until the Moyglare Stud Stakes is renamed in honour of the O'Brien family, the answer is that it probably be a while thanks to the naming of this event. The Vincent O'Brien National Stakes was inaugurated as the National Produce Stakes in 1849. It later became simply the National Stakes, but it took on its current moniker in 2009 in memory of the successful Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien who had died earlier that year.

Interestingly, the name of the event reverted in 2011, then was renamed as the Vincent O'Brien Stakes in 2012 before reverting back to being the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes two years later. That was also when it became part of the Irish Champions Weekend, having been removed from the Breeders' Cup Challenge series two years earlier. Winners had been receiving a place in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf until it was removed form the series.

A Group 2 race until it was promoted to Group 1 in 1985, it was extended to be run over a mile in 1997. Three years later and it was returned to its former distance of seven furlongs, which is what it has been run over ever since. The seven furlongs take place over a right-handed elbow. It's open to two-year-old horses, with geldings excluded, and has a weight attached of nine stone and three pounds, though fillies and mares are given a three pound allowance.

Obviously no horse has even won the race more than once thanks to the age restriction, but the same cannot be said for jockeys. Cash Asmussen, Johnny Murtagh and Joseph O'Brien, amongst others, have all ridden multiple winners here. Yet it's Kevin Manning, Lester Piggott and Michael Kinane who lead the way with four wins apiece.

When it comes to the race's most successful trainer it's an entirely appropriate name that stands at the top of the list. Part of the reason Vincent O'Brien had the race named in his honour is because he was responsible for fifteen winners between 1967 and 1992. Even more appropriate is the fact that Aidan O'Brien followed in his footsteps, managing nine wins to date. Add in those two wins for Joseph O'Brien and it's little wonder this race is thought of as being the O'Brien family's own.

Irish St. Leger

Group 1, 1m 6f

The only place to start is with the race that the entire day is named in honour of. The Irish St Leger is, as you might well have guessed, the Irish version of the English St Leger Stakes that is run at Doncaster every year as one of the five Classics. Established in 1915, it was initially restricted to horses aged three. It is part of the Irish Triple Crown alongside the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Irish Derby.

Royal Lancer became the first horse to win both the English and Irish St Leger races, doing so in 1922. Museum was the first horse that managed to win the Irish Triple Crown, achieving the feat in 1935, and at the time of writing the only other horse to manage it was Windsor Slipper, who did so in 1942. The Irish St Leger, meanwhile, was opened to horses aged three and over in 1983, leading to some multiple race winners since then.

The best example of a horse that has won the race on multiple occasions was Vinnie Roe, who was victorious for four consecutive years between 2001 and 2004. Kayf Tara had won it twice in 1998 and 1999, with Oscar Schindler doing it before that in 1996 and 1997. Vintage Crop was the first horse to win it more than once after the age was relaxed, winning it consecutively in 1993 and 1994. The only horse to date that has won the race twice but didn't do so in consecutive years was Order of St George, winning it in 2015 and then again in 2017.

Morny Wing is the race's most successful jockey ever, having won the race seven times between 1920 and 1947. In the modern era the likes of Frankie Dettori, Lester Piggott and Michael Kinane have all won it more than once, with Kinane and Pat Smullen coming closest to Wing's record thanks to their four wins apiece. Vincent O'Brien is the most successful trainer of horse in the Irish St Leger with nine wins between 1959 and 1988.

In terms of the race itself, it is run right-handed over one mile and six furlongs. Open to horses aged three and up, it has the following weight information in play:
  • 3-year-olds: 9 stone 1 pound
  • 4-year-olds and over: 9 stone 9 pounds
  • Fillies and mares are given an allowance of 3 pounds

In terms of what to remember from this race, the main thing to takeaway is that horses that do well in it often go on to be competitive in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Australia.

Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes


'After the Lord Mayor’s Show' is the title that is assigned to this event by many people, given that it comes straight after the feature race of the day. It’s run over six furlongs and sixty-three yards, which takes about a minute and twenty seconds for the two-year-olds to run when the Going is Good. The winner takes home in the region of €300,000 in prize money.

Irish EBF 'Northfields' Handicap

1m 2f

The final race of the day is run in association with the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund, mirroring the first race of the day in that sense. Run over one mile and two furlongs, it boasts prize money of €150,000 for the winning horse. Open to horses aged three and over, the Premier Handicap takes about two minutes and ten seconds to complete on Good ground.


About the Irish St Leger

Grandstands at Curragh Racecourse

The Irish love their own version of the Classic English horse races, with information elsewhere on this site about the likes of the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Irish Grand National (though the latter isn't a Classic, it is a classic). As with some of the other Irish races, Irish St Leger Day is hosted at the Curragh, which is one of the country's best courses.

Unlike most big races during the Irish racing calendar, the Irish St Leger doesn't come in the middle of a festival that lasts for several days. Except for the fact that it sort of does... Irish Champions Weekend plays host to two different days at two different racecourses, with St Leger Day being our concern here. It comes the day after some top-class racing at Leopardstown, which we've written about elsewhere on this site.