Through Irish Eyes, ridden by Mark Zahra, wins the VRC St Leger (Image: Racing Photos)
A truly run Listed VRC St Leger saw Through Irish Eyes wander off a true line over the concluding stages but it wasn't enough to deny training partners Ciaron Maher and David Eustace or jockey Mark Zahra their first win in the Listed race.
Through Irish Eyes ($3.20) emerged as the superior stayer in the 2800-metre feature for three-year-olds, the Tavistock gelding assisted by a strong tempo established by stablemate Silicon Valley, who increased the pace from halfway.
Through Irish Eyes pounced on the leaders with 400 metres remaining and despite being on weary legs and wayward inside the Flemington clocktower found enough to score by a length ahead of Salto Angel ($6) and Favreau ($3 favourite).
Zahra believes Through Irish Eyes, who became the ninth stakes winner by Tavistock out of a Zabeel mare from 83 runners in winning the VRC St Leger, is improving with each start.
"I was getting to the front a long way out but with my momentum and how it worked out, I didn’t want to stop him," Zahra said.
"I think you’ve seen that he didn’t know whether he wanted to run into the mounting yard or what. I’m sure if something challenged him he would have come again."
Eustace described Through Irish Eyes as a 'really nice staying horse' and would monitor his progress before committing to upcoming races such as the South Australian Derby, Queensland Derby or even the Andrew Ramsden Stakes.
"When the penny drops, he is going to continue to progress with racing," Eustace said.
Through Irish Eyes, out of Group 3 South Australian Oaks winner Zapurple, was purchased for NZ$150,000 from the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale.
The half-brother of Byerley Handicap and Gibson Carmichael Stakes runner-up Anchor Bid has raced five times for two wins and three placings.