Tag Archives: Irish Champions Weekend

Irish Champions Weekend (G1)

It could be an exceptional day for the Niarchos Family.

The owners of both Alpha Centauri and Study Of Man may end the day celebrating having the best three year old filly and best three year old colt in the world, on turf at least.

The Matron Stakes (G1)

Alpha Centauri after her win in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in May

Jessica Harrington’s filly began her sequence of mile win’s with the Irish 1000 Guineas in May followed by the Coronation Stakes in June and Falmouth Stakes in July. She improved with each run and last time out in the Jacques le Marois in August she was mighty impressive when she beat Recoletos who has since franked the form in no uncertain terms by winning the G1 Prix de Moulin at Lonchamp last week.

Happily, Clemmie, Magical and Lightening Quick are the other Irish contenders. It’s hard to see any of them upsetting the favourite as she’s beaten Happily and Clemmie at the Curragh with the latter also suffering defeat at Ascot and Newmarket as well. Happily has got the closest to her and a win or place for any of the Ballydoyle trio will cement Aidan O’Brien’s position at the top of PRWC 2018 Trainers Table.

Happily 27th July 2017 at Leopardstown

Magical has yet to take her on and Ryan Moore has opted for her over the other two. He may expect she’ll improve the most as she’s only had the two runs this year winning the Kilboy Estates Stakes last time out. She can be expected to improve again for that.

Johnny Murtagh will hope Lightening Quick can repeat the feat of winning as she did this day last year when trained by Ger Lyons for the Ballylinch Stud Maiden, the opening race on the card. This granted is a bit thougher.

Lightening Quick who won the first this day last year

Laurens, a dual G1 winner over 10f in France steps back to a mile, a distance she last ran at when second behind Billesdon Brooke in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. It’s a bold step having tried a mile and a half in the Yorkshire Oaks where she didn’t stay the trip. Dan’s Dream accompanies her from England having already been a visitor when running second at listed level at Tipperary last time.

Jessica Harrington has done a fabulous job with Alpha Centauri, her pride and joy. She has got her confidence to grow and grow throughout the season and she’s treated us to better and more authoritative performances each time she’s run.

There’s a tiny doubt about her on slow ground, it’s been a showery day in Dublin today, and she was beaten here on her first run of the year on heavy ground. Whatever the ground her class will tell, at least enough to see her out with Happily the one to chase her home.

A win here will see her top PRWC 2018 Horse Table though she’ll probably be sharing top spot with Winx when she win’s the George Main Stakes at Ranwick in the morning.

Recommendation: Alpha Centauri, Happily (Exacta) 

The Irish Champion Stakes (G1)

Study Of Man also looked a proper horse in the making in the spring when winning the Prix Greffulhe as a prep for the Prix du Jockey Club.

At Chantilly he didn’t disappoint winning it snugly.

He was given a summer break and brought back in August for a G2 at Deauville where on the face of it he did disappoint running fourth however in hindsight it looked a decent effort and his jockey Stephane Pasquier who’ll be having his first ride at Leopardstown reports him in top order expecting he’ll come on an awful lot for the run.

John Gosden saddles the favourite, trading slightly odds on, Roaring Loin was impressive at York in the Juddmonte where he easily had the measure of Poets Word. The second had a difficult passage but in truth the loin had roared and was long gone and there was no chance he would have been reeled in.

Ballydoyle send a quartet of G1 winners headed by Saxon Warrior. The Guineas winner has not hit the heights expected after Newmarket and could not get to Roaring Loin last time out at York in the International. There had only been a neck between them at Sandown in the Eclipse but at York Roaring Loin had extended that to 5L. Deauville, Athena, Rhododendron also run with the best of them possibly the latter.

Willie Haggas sends Addeybb over having already plundered G1 riches here this season with Sea Of Class and Urban Fox. This is tricker.

Verbal Dexterity makes up the line up, Jim Bolger’s horse is the forgotten one having won the National Stakes last year he missed the early season through injury but did make a pleasing comeback when fourth in G3 at the Curragh recently. If he can show that kind of form again he could well be a force to be reckoned with.

A cracking days racing to open Champions Weekend. Alpha Centauri will likely be crowned Queen of Ireland in the Matron while in a fascinating Champion Stakes Roaring Loin and Study Of Man will both lay claims to being the best middle distance colt of this generation. Preference is for Study Of Man who could yet become King Of France if he adds this on route to the Arc.

Recommendation: Study Of Man 10/1 win and Verbal Dexterity 20/1 ew

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Irish Champion Stakes (G1)

 

Zhukova on her way out to win the Enterprise Stakes last year.

” I’ve been waiting such a long time, looking out for you but your not here.”

It’s Minding we’ll miss, if injury hadn’t curtailed her career she could have blown the season apart and expectation would have been she would have been crowned Queen of Ireland in the Champion Stakes here.

The show goes on and Churchill fills the role as the Ballydoyle number one. The dual Guineas winner has been beaten twice since. The poor run at Royal Ascot is still a mystery but it’s forgotten now after a good return to form in the International at York. He and Barney Roy cut their own throats by having a private battle setting it up for Ulysses  He mightn’t have won but he put in a very solid performance proving he could see out the step up in trip to 10f.

Alas, the race doesn’t have the depth in quality it had last year, a truly exceptional year, it’s still intriguing none the less. That’s down to the presence of Eminent. He put in a cracking effort over this trip in Deauville last time out. He was ridden by Ryan Moore that day and given a soft lead the field couldn’t peg him back. That won’t happen here so will Frankie Dettori in the saddle for the first time take it on or will he sit and wait.

Most likely it’ll be Ken Condon’s Success Days who will set the pace. He a confirmed front-runner who last time out at York in the Sky Bet Stakes just saw it out to win by a nose. He’ll love every drop of rain that falls.

The 2014 winner The Grey Gatsby now trained by Dermot Weld is back. He’s a shadow of the horse who won when beating Australia and it’s more likely Zhukova would give Rosewell House the better opportunity to claim this prize.

Zhukova is a lightly raced five-year old who won the Enterprise Stakes here last year in impressive style. She’s since a G1 winner when she took the Man o’ War at Belmont in May this year. She ran a cracker in July in the Pretty Poly when only tiring in the last furlong and this shorter trip after a nice break will be right up her street.

Decorated Knight is back in Ireland the scene of his last G1 win where at the Curragh he took the Tattersalls Gold Cup also in May. Luck has deserted him since, second to Highland Reel at Royal Ascot was followed by what his trainer Roger Charlton described as a frustrating run in the Eclipse. In the International at York he pulled muscles and in the circumstances ran magnificently to still be involved with a furlong to run.

The Stoute team sends Poet’s Word over instead of Ulysses. He’s three wins from seven, the last being a G3, the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood. He’s on the up and will like Ulysses turn into a nice five-year old. A similar case could be made for Jim Bolger’s Moonlight Magic whose shown flashes of potential never more than last time out when beating Deauville a head here in the Meld Stakes in July.

That leaves Cliffs Of Moher and Taj Mahal, the Ballydoyle supporting actors. The former hasn’t lived up to expectations, sent off as favourite for the Derby where he ran second, he hasn’t yet cut the mustard since running fourth in both the Eclipse and The International.

Taj Mahal went to Chicago where he ran his best race when second to Oscar Performance in the Secretariat Stakes. The winner won last years Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and is now a triple G1 winner. 66/1 ignores his talent.

Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won Ireland’s premier all age race since So You Think won in 2011. St Nicholas Abbey, Australia, Found (twice) and Minding have all been beaten in this race. Can Churchill end the drought?

Chances are he can but at 11/10 he’s a short price for one whose been beaten at this distance albeit on his only try when caught in a headlock by Barney Roy.

It presents a doubt, enough to take him on, a fit Decorated Knight is interesting on what looks like good to yielding ground however there’s one who’ll love the ground and the track and is trained by a master in Dermot Weld.

And Twelve points go to … … Zhukova

Douze points Zhulova

I can hear Aidan humming on the way home in the car. I’ve been waiting…….

A happy Chris Hayes coming in after winning the Desmond Stakes in July

In The Boomerang Stakes Alexios Konmenos should follow up his win in the Desmond Stakes over course and distance in July.

Recommendation:

Irish Champion Stakes:  Zhukova 12/1 ew 

                                            Zhukova and Decorated Knight (RFC)

Boomerang Stakes:        Alexios Konmenos 9/4 win

The Matron Stakes:       Enjoy Winter