Belfast Telegraph

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Irish Leger moves to evening slot

This year's Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger will be run in an early-evening slot in a bid to heighten the profile of the Group One race.

The Curragh switched the Irish Derby to an evening start earlier this year and after hailing that move a success, officials will follow suit with a later start to the fixture on September 15.

The final Classic of the season will now start at 6.05pm, while the Group One Goffs Vincent O'Brien Stakes, formerly known as the National Stakes, will end the eight-race card at 6.40pm.

Curragh general manager Paul Hensey said: "Following discussions with our sponsors and RTE, we feel that moving the feature races to a later time will ensure we maximise the opportunity to boost attendance, television coverage and the profile of what is undoubtedly one of our best racing days of the season."

Mary Delaney, sales manager for Gain Horse Feeds, added: "It is our aim to make this day a success for everyone. Moving Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger day to a later starting time will accommodate a wider customer base travelling from all over Ireland."

The race is established as one of the premier international trials for the Emirates Melbourne Cup and the now 25-year-old Vintage Crop, winner of Australia's biggest race in 1993, will be paraded before the feature contest.

The Melbourne Cups won by both him and Media Puzzle (in 2002) will also be on display. Racegoers will have the opportunity to take part in a competition to win a trip the Australia for two people with flights, accommodation and tickets to "the race that stops a nation".

The list of entries for this year's Irish St Leger include last year's joint winner Jukebox Jury and 2010 hero Sans Frontieres. Others include Dunaden, Rite Of Passage, Fame And Glory, Treasure Beach, Unaccompanied, Galileo's Choice, Monterosso, Masked Marvel and Brown Panther.

Camelot's attempt to become the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to land the Triple Crown when he lines up in the English St. Leger at Doncaster on the same day will be included in the schedule at 3.45pm and shown on large screens throughout the racecourse.

Hensey also confirmed next year's Darley Irish Oaks will be moved from its traditional Sunday afternoon slot to Saturday, July 20.

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