Irish Champion Stakes edges closer
The clock continues to count down to Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes and with less than two weeks to go now, the excitement is building up for one of the World’s highest rated races which is now part of the Irish Champions Weekend. The Group 1 contest, with a prize fund of €1 million, will take place on September 13th and, as always, has attracted top quality entrants who will try to emulate some of the best horses in history in taking the 1m 2f contest.
The likes of Giant’s Causeway, Fantastic Light and Dylan Thomas have been victorious in the past, with the latter having won the race twice in 2006 and 2007, the only horse to have won the prestigious race on more than one occasion. In more recent years the likes of New Approach, Sea The Stars and So You Think have taken the Leopardstown showpiece but the last two running’s have been dominated by the fairer sex with Snow Fairy and The Fugue getting the better of the boys.
As it stands, a total of 37 quality horses still hold an entry for the Champion Stakes and this year’s female brigade could be led by the likes of last year’s Irish Oaks winner Chiquita who is yet to make his debut for seven time winning trainer Aidan O’Brien. Breeder’s Cup fillies and mares winner Dank, John Oxx’s daughter of Sea The Stars My Titania and impressive Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry could also attempt to continue the winning run of the fillies.
Obviously the stand out name among the entries is this season’s top performer Australia. Born of blue blood, Aidan O’Brien’s stable star has lived up to the hype thrown upon him in this campaign, including his trainer’s proclamation that he may be the ‘best he has ever trained’. Being by Galileo and out of wonder mare Ouija Board, Australia was bred to go right to the very top and he has delivered with aplomb in recording a Derby double as well as taking the Juddmonte International Stakes in impressive style last time.
One worrying matter for followers of Australia could be the fact that his esteemed parents both failed to record victory in the Irish Champion Stakes. Galileo tasted defeat for the first time in his amazing career when going down by just head in the 2001 renewal to Fantastic Light, in what is still regarded as one of the greatest finishes of all time. Ouija Board was herself just touched off in her sole attempt, going down by a quarter of a length to the brilliant Dylan Thomas in 2006.
A total of 15 of this year’s entrants are British raiders, including last year’s runner up Al Kazeem who has had a strange year since going down to The Fugue twelve months ago. Two time winner Sir Michael Stoute has a total of three entrants with Arab Spring and Telescope joining Dank, whilst Roger Varian’s leading St Leger hope Kingston Hill is also still amongst the entries.
Whoever turns up it promises to be yet another top class renewal in a fortnights time and with the Goffs Champions Sale being held before racing, as well as the valuable best dressed lady competition, style class and value for money is the name of the game at Leopardstown.
Check out Leopardstown for more info.
Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire – Photo
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