Twilight Payment wins the Irish St Leger Trial
Twilight Payment returned to the winners' enclosure for the first time since last year's Melbourne Cup with a spirited performance in the €50,000 Irish St Leger Trial (2816m) at the Curragh on Friday.
Declan McDonogh settled Twilight Payment in the box-seat and when the leaders surrendered their advantage at the 700-metre mark, Twilight Payment found himself in the lead.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Twilight Payment ($6) maintained his advantage thereafter, holding off Princess Zoe ($4.30) by 1.75 lengths to claim his eighth victory in stakes company.
“He’s a good old stager. I think he’s won it when Declan sent him on turning in and he’s got two lengths on them," O'Brien's assistant trainer Brendan Powell told Racing TV.
“I thought Princess Zoe might pick him up but he’s some hard horse to pass. He’s so tough.
“Declan said he felt great going to the start and that’s the first time since he rode him last year that he’s got that sort of feel off him.
“He’s shown that he’s trained on and seems like the horse of old.”
Connections of Twilight Payment will consider an Australian trip for their Northern Hemisphere eight-year-old with the $5m G1 Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 16 likely to be on his agenda ahead of the $8m G1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 2.
Twilight Payment is a $21 chance to win consecutive Melbourne Cups with the locally-trained pair of Incentivise ($11) and Realm of Flowers ($13) at the top of betting.