Vinnie Roe, Dermot Weld's remarkable stayer, won the Irish St. Leger Stakes (Ire-I) for a fourth consecutive time Saturday, setting off a huge celebration at The Curragh.
Under a tight hold from jockey Patrick Smullen into the straight, the 6-year-old son of Definite Article pulled clear of the field with a furlong to go and won by 2 1/2 lengths on a yielding course. Brian Boru ran on for second, with Sir Michael Stoute's First Charter finishing third.
Vinnie Roe became the first to win the 1 3/4-mile Irish St. Leger three times in a row in last year's running.
"It's a very, very special day," Weld told Racing Post
. "We have had problems getting him here and to deliver him to win like that gives special satisfaction. He doesn't jump out of bed as quick in a morning as he used to."
Weld won the Irish St. Leger in 1993 and '94 with Vintage Crop.
"We'll think about the Melbourne Cup,"Weld said. "If he comes out of this race really well, I'd give it serious consideration. But if he is stiff and sore, he won't go."
Weld and Smullen agreed that soft going was to Vinnie Roe's advantage and they would hope for more of the same in Australia.
Vinnie Roe ran fourth behind Media Puzzle in the 2002 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I).
"The pressure was on me today to do it for the horse, more than anything," a delighted Smullen noted. "I couldn't believe how well he was going coming down the hill. This horse is very dear to my heart because when I needed a good horse, he came along."
Jamie Spencer, who rode the runner-up Brian Boru, said, "He ran well, but the winner is special."