The biggest of names remain on course for the six Group 1 races and the thrilling supporting cards on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh on Saturday and Sunday.
Roaring Lion, already a dual Group 1 winner this year, will bid to give Oisin Murphy a first win in his native country in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday. John Gosden’s Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International Stakes winner looks set to be joined in the line-up for the €1.25m event by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Newmarket 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior with Pascal Bary’s QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club winner Study Of Man also standing his ground along with Addeybb for trainer William Haggas and the Jim Bolger-trained Verbal Dexterity.
Murphy has only ridden at Leopardstown on two previous occasions, his best finish being third on Olly Stevens’ Lightning Spear in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes in 2015.
The season’s star Alpha Centauri, trained by Jessica Harrington, heads the 16 remaining entries in the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes. Alpha Centauri is chasing a fifth consecutive Group 1 win having won in great style at the Curragh, Royal Ascot, Newmarket and Deauville.
Karl Burke has confirmed that Laurens will be among those taking her on and he said: “Laurens is in great form. I couldn’t be happier with her and both her and Ellthea will be left in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Laurens definitely runs, and we’ll see what happens weather-wise for Ellthea.”
Also remaining in the Matron Stakes are the Aidan O’Brien-trained Group 1 winners Rhododendron and Clemmie. Ger Lyons could be represented by Who’s Steph and Dermot Weld has Making Light.
For the first time, there are four Group 1 races on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh on Sunday. Flag Of Honour and Latrobe top the ten horses remaining in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger. Aidan O’Brien’s charge is chasing a hat-trick of wins at the Curragh, while Latrobe, trained by Joseph O’Brien, would be bidding to add to his Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby success at the end of June. The John Gosden-trained Weekender stands his ground as does Twilight Payment for Jim Bolger.
The first of the Group 1 races on Sunday is the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes which is being run as a Group 1 for the first time. Karl Burke commented: “Havana Grey runs in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes on Sunday at the Curragh. Richie Kingscote rides him, and he is in great shape and he is adaptable ground-wise. He has won at the Curragh this year and he is a very fast horse and I’m really looking forward to running him.” Aidan O’Brien has left in four horses including last Saturday’s Navan winner Battle Of Jericho and Sioux Nation.
Heading the field of 15 remaining in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes is the Charlie Appleby-trained Group 2 winner Beyond Reason and Mark Johnston’s Main Edition, a winner at both Royal Ascot and the July Newmarket meeting and the more-locally trained Skitter Scatter for Patrick Prendergast and owners Sonia and Anthony Rogers.
Sixteen horses remain in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes where the unbeaten Dark Vision heads the way for record-breaker Mark Johnston and owners Godolphin who have also left in the Charlie Appleby-trained Quorto. Anthony Van Dyck is one of nine Ballydoyle-trained colts left in the race while the exciting Madhmoon is still there for Kevin Prendergast.
Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “It is all getting very exciting and we are delighted with the quality of entries for Saturday. A key objective of Longines Irish Champions Weekend is to bring the best horses to run in Ireland. There will be plenty to entertain us on Saturday in that regard.”
Derek McGrath, CEO of the Curragh Racecourse, said: “We can look forward to seeing some of the best race horses in the world this year over both days of Longines Irish Champions Weekend and I am pleased that many of the top international trainers and jockeys will be at the Curragh on Sunday to compete in eight high quality and competitive races.”
Prices for Longines Irish Champions Weekend supplied by Paddy Power
Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes
Paddy Power: 2-5 Alpha Centauri, 8 Laurens, 10 Magical, Rhododendron, 14 Happily, Making Light, 16 Clemmie, 25 I Can Fly, Panstarr, 33 Athena, Ellthea, Whos Steph, 50 Dans Dream, Hence, Lightening Quick, 66 Ship Of Dreams
QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes
Paddy Power: 8-11 Roaring Lion, 3 Saxon Warrior, 11-2 Study Of Man, 12 Verbal Dexterity, 16 Addeybb, 20 Rhododendron, 25 Magical, 33 Athena, 50 Deauville, 100 Seahenge
Comer Group International Irish St Leger
Paddy Power: 6-4 Flag Of Honour, 11-4 Latrobe, 3 Weekender, 8 Idaho, Southern France, 10 Twilight Payment, 25 Nelson, The Pentagon, 33 Kew Gardens, 100 Cypress Creek
Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes
Paddy Power: 2 Havana Grey, 7-2 Sioux Nation, 9-2 Hit The Bid, 6 Take Cover, 8 Battle Of Jericho, 10 Caspian Prince, Different League, Judicial, 20 St Patricks Day, 40 Gorane, 50 Son Of Rest, 66 Now Youre Talking
Admission tickets for both days of Longines Irish Champions Weekend can be purchased at the gates at Leopardstown and the Curragh. Adult admission is €35, Children under 16 accompanied by an adult are free. Alternatively you can purchase online at www.irishchampionsweekend.ie