09/10/2011 12:52PM

Gosden collects pair of Group 1 victories with Masked Marvel, Duncan


Masked Marvel gave the trainer-jockey team of John Gosden and William Buick a second straight success in the Group 1 St. Leger Stakes on Saturday, winning the test of stamina at Doncaster in England by three lengths a year after Arctic Cosmos had scored in the race for 3-year-olds.

It was the fourth win from six starts but first Group 1 tally for Masked Marvel, a son of Montjeu owned by Bjorn Nielsen. Masked Marvel failed to show his best in the Epsom Derby, finishing eighth, but long had the St. Leger as a target, according to Gosden, who won the race for the fourth time.

Masked Marvel travelled mid-pack as his stablemate, Buthelezi, set a strong pace while chased by Genius Beast and Rumh. Buick kept his mount inside in the clear and made his move a little more than a quarter-mile from the finish as Masked Marvel stayed on strongly to win going away. His time of 3:00.44 for 1 13/16 miles on good-to-firm going was a course record.

Brown Panther finished second, a half-length in front of race favorite Sea Moon, who was buried inside and between horses for most of the stretch, and finished strongly when belatedly maneuvered outside into the clear. The Godolphin filly Blue Bunting never was a factor, finishing sixth.

Dead heat in Irish St. Leger

A couple hundred miles west and across the Irish Sea, Gosden was at it again in the Irish St. Leger, where his trainee, Duncan, dead-heated for first with pacesetting Jukebox Jury in the Group 1 stayers’ race at the Curragh. Favored Fame and Glory struggled throughout the 1 3/4-mile race for older horses, checking in fourth. Winning time over yielding-to-soft going was 3:08.01. John Murtagh was aboard Jukebox Jury while Eddie Ahern rode Duncan.

The day’s other Group 1 at the Curragh, the National Stakes for 2-year-olds, saw trainer Aidan O’Brien send out the winner, Power, as well as the third- and fourth-place finishers. Power took the lead from his pacesetting stablemate David Livingston in the final furlong and held clear the rally of well-regarded Dragon’s Pulse to win by a half-length. The seven-furlong National is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race, and Power gained an automatic fees-paid berth into the BC Juvenile Turf with his victory.

BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners >>

But perhaps the best 2-year-old seen Saturday at the Curragh was Born to Sea, a half-brother to champion Sea the Stars who won the listed Blenheim Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths for trainer John Oxx while making his career debut.