Vadeni, Mishriff and Luxembourg are among seven declarations for a thrilling renewal of the Irish Champion Stakes on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Vadeni, winner of the Prix du Jockey Club, just got the better of the John & Thady Gosden-trained Mishriff when following up in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and the pair clash again as the latter, to be ridden by champion jockey Colin Keane, continues his countdown to retirement with his final race in Europe.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Luxembourg, a winner on his return to action at the Curragh last month, bids to give the champion trainer his fourth consecutive win, and his 11th overall, in the race with the French challenge strengthened by Fabrice Chappet’s Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto.
The William Haggas-trained Alenquer is out to add to his Tattersalls Gold Cup success at the Curragh in May and two more from the O'Brien yard, Broome and Stone Age, make up the field.
The Dermot Weld-trained Homeless Songs heads the 11 declarations for the Group 1 Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes. Moyglare Stud Farm’s sensational filly, absent since winning the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas, comes up against more recent Group 1 winners in the shape of Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach and Aidan O'Brien’s Tenebrism with the supplemented Concert Hall also taking her chance for the Ballydoyle trainer.
The first of Saturday’s two Group 2 races is the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes with a field of five runners led by Aidan O'Brien’s Auguste Rodin and his course and distance winner Tower Of London. Jim Bolger’s Serious Challenge is another to note after a battling Galway festival success, with Alder and Caroline Street representing Donnacha O'Brien and Joseph O'Brien respectively.
Eight horses go to post for the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile with Bolger’s Boundless Ocean, already the winner of three races at Leopardstown this season, the Simon & Ed Chrisford-trained Jadoomi and Paddy Twomey’s Just Beautiful sure to figure among the leading fancies.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Point King, the Twomey pair Earl Of Tyrone and Beamish and Ger Lyons’ Thunder Kiss head nine runners for the Group 3 Paddy Power Stakes while the 11 declarations for the opening Listed Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes include previous Leopardstown winner Ma Belle Artiste for trainer Joseph O'Brien, the Johnny Murtagh-trained Sheyya, Dermot Weld’s Kayhana and Easy, now in the care of Paddy Twomey.
A full field of 18 runners has been declared for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Sovereign Path’ Handicap with the Ado McGuinness-trained Current Option and Michael Halford’s Surrounding, two Galway festival winners, in with every chance while a maximum line-up of 23 runners will face the starter for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap with recent winners, the Peter Fahey-trained Kojin and Matthew Smith’s La Hacienda likely to be among the main protagonists.
The opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend will be shown live in a record 137 territories as the Racecourse Media Group, working with HBA Media, partner with 30 broadcasters from around the world. The Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes will be live on ITV in Britain with RTE and Racing TV also providing up-to-the-minute coverage.
Tim Husbands, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “The importance of Longines Irish Champions Weekend as a world event is reflected by the quality of runners from France, the UK and Ireland at Leopardstown on Saturday. It’s thanks to our wonderful sponsors and such passionate owners that we look forward to a hugely competitive day’s racing, great entertainment for all racegoers and lovers of live sport on Dublin’s doorstep.”
Click here for the declared runners for Leopardstown on Saturday
The importance of Longines Irish Champions Weekend as a world event is reflected by the quality of runners from France, the UK and Ireland at Leopardstown on Saturday. It’s thanks to our wonderful sponsors and such passionate owners that we look forward to a hugely competitive day’s racing, great entertainment for all racegoers and lovers of live sport on Dublin’s doorstep