Irish Champions Weekend Update
The QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes is shaping up as the race of the year, having attracted a stellar cast. Dual 2,000 Guineas hero and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Gleneagles is set to clash with Epsom Derby and Coral-Eclipse winner Golden Horn but it is by no means a two-horse race as other intended runners in the €1.1m contest include the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Free Eagle, multiple Group 1 winning French star Cirrus Des Aigles and last year’s hero The Grey Gatsby.
Pleascach, winner of both the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, is another possible runner in the race.
Her trainer Jim Bolger said at the weekend, “Kevin (Manning) is very keen to go for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. After York, I was eyeing the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp, but I wouldn’t rule out Leopardstown at this stage..”
German Group One winner Guiliani, who hit the mark at the top level in the 10-furlong Grosser Dallmayr-Preis in Munich on his latest start, could also be an interesting contender. Trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho says, “Guiliani remains a possibility for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.”
Last year’s impressive winner Brown Panther could make his return from injury in the 2015 renewal of the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, the final Irish Classic of the season. There will be no shortage of opposition to Tom Dascombe’s seven-year-old with the locally-trained Forgotten Rules, third in the Ascot Gold Cup, and the recent American St Leger runner-up Panama Hat considered likely runners, while Order Of St George and Sea Moon, who finished first and second in the Group 3 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh last weekend could also take their chance.
Panama Hat’s trainer Andy Oliver says, “He ran a super race in Chicago and has come out of that very well. He took the journey over and back very well and appears to be in super form. I have spoken to Barry Irwin of Team Valor and the horse has a couple of options on Longines Irish Champions Weekend and there is every chance he’ll go for the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger.”
Connections of the impressive Newbury winner Agent Murphy have also set their sights on the race and his trainer Brian Meehan is likely to be well represented at the Curragh on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Legatissimo heads the entries for the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes. David Wachman’s star won the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and was later successful in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
Wachman says, “The plan is to run on Longines Irish Champions Weekend. We will leave her in both the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes until closer to the time. I’d imagine the Matron is more likely. She came out of Goodwood very well and we are very happy with her, she won quite snugly that day and seems in good form now.”
Another intended runner is David O’Meara’s Amazing Maria and he says of the dual Group 1 winner, “The intention is for her to go to Leopardstown for the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes. She has been in good form since she won in Deauville and the form of that race has worked out well. She has form on slow ground as a two-year-old and seems pretty versatile ground wise.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Ballydoyle is on target for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes after her impressive success in the Group 2 Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. O’Brien looks to have a strong hand in a race that could also attract the likes of Dermot Weld’s runaway Leopardstown maiden winner Juliette Fair and his unbeaten Tanaza who has certainly caught the eye on her two starts at the Foxrock track.
Michael O’Callaghan’s Now Or Never certainly deserves a shot at the big prize after her gallant effort in the Group 2 Galileo EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. The race is also the immediate target for the Brian Meehan-trained Blue Bayou who was the winner of the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket last time.
There are undoubtedly a few future stars hidden among the 50-strong entry for the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.
Jim Bolger has nominated the race as the immediate aim for Sanus Per Aquam of whom he said, “He is in the National Stakes and that is his target now and he is very well. He was in the Futurity, but obviously I wasn’t going to run the two horses in the one race, so we are going to keep him for the National Stakes.”
Another interesting runner would be Queen Elizabeth’s Recorder who landed the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York last week. His trainer William Haggas says, “The Curragh will suit him better I would have thought. There is no reason to go backwards now and we need to be positive. To send a horse of that quality is great and to perform as he has done is even better.”
Aidan O’Brien won last year’s renewal with Gleneagles and he appears to have a strong entry to pick from as he bids for his tenth success in the race.
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