Latrobe

Latrobe (Image: Racing Photos)

Latrobe set for St Leger showdown

Next month's Irish St Leger looms as a crucial race in terms of Melbourne's spring features with Latrobe poised to tackle reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup champion Cross Counter following a Group 3 win on Thursday at Leopardstown.

Trained by Joseph O'Brien, who teamed with Latrobe's part-owner Lloyd Williams to win the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling, the Irish Derby winner of two seasons ago impressed as an odds-on favourite in the Ballyroan Stakes over 2400 metres.

Williams confirmed on Friday that Latrobe would progress to the Irish St Leger on September 15 before a decision would be made on whether he returns to Melbourne or stays in England for Champions day at Ascot on October 19.

Latrobe was among the entries this week for October's $5 million Cox Plate and is expected also to be among the nominations for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, for which he is currently rated a $26 chance.

Latrobe ran a close second in last year's G1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington at his only Australian start.

Williams has twice taken the Irish St Leger in the past, with his former top-class stayer Order Of St George in 2015 and 2017.

Cross Counter appears certain to also go through the St Leger on his way back to Australia with trainer Charlie Appleby keen to get the horse back into winning form after being left in Stradivarius' sizeable wake twice this campaign at Royal Ascot and Goodwood.