typically strong overseas and home-trained contingent are to set contest
the six Group 1 races on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown
and the Curragh on Saturday and Sunday.|
Ghaiyyath is on course for a fourth consecutive Group 1 success in the
Irish Champion Stakes on the opening day of the meeting at Leopardstown
His trainer, Charlie Appleby, revealed at lunchtime on Tuesday,
“Ghaiyyath will work tomorrow morning, we will have a final discussion
then and if everyone is happy our intention is to fly to Dublin on
Godolphin's superstar became the highest-rated horse in the world when
adding the Juddmonte International at York last month to earlier
top-level wins in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket and Sandown’s
The main opposition to Ghaiyyath is expected to come from the horses he
beat into second and third place respectively at York, the Aidan
O'Brien-trained Magical, winner of the Irish Champion Stakes last year,
and John Gosden’s Lord North.
Jean-Claude Rouget won the Irish Champion Stakes with Almanzor in 2016
and he will run last year’s French Derby winner Sottsass, a winner again
at Chantilly in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in June while Barney Roy could
accompany stable companion Ghaiyyath on the trip to Dublin.
In all, 13 horses have stood their ground for the Irish Champion Stakes
with Anthony Van Dyck, Japan, Magic Wand, Vatican City and Armory still
in the race for Aidan O'Brien, Jessica Harrington has Leo De Fury and
Joseph O'Brien could yet call upon Buckhurst and Degraves.
The Donnacha O'Brien-trained Fancy Blue and Aidan O'Brien’s Peaceful head
an entry of 13 for the Group 1 Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes.
There was little between the pair in the French Oaks at Chantilly last
time. Aidan O'Brien has four horses remaining in the race with Magic
Wand, Love Locket and So Wonderful in with a chance of joining his
Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine.
Joseph O'Brien has left A New Dawn, Wilds Dreams and New York Girl with
both Champers Elysees and Know It All in the mix for Johnny Murtagh.
Jessica Harrington has both Albigna and Valeria Messalina with the Fozzy
Stack-trained Lady Wannabe completing the latest line up ahead of
Thursday’s declaration stage.
There are four Group 1 races at the Curragh on Sunday and the second day
of Longines Irish Champions Weekend is highlighted by the Comer Group
International Irish St Leger. Seventeen horses remain in the final
Classic of the season, with the Roger Varian-trained Royal Ascot and York
Ebor winner Fujaira Prince and Dermot Weld’s Search For A Song, a
brilliant winner of the race last year, leading the way.
Joseph O'Brien is very well represented with Twilight Payment, Galileo
Chrome, Master Of Reality, Bolleville and Pondus still engaged while his
father Aidan has left in Sovereign, Passion and Shoshone Warrior. Willie
Mullins won the race with Wicklow Brave in 2016 and he looks set to rely
on his runaway course winner Micro Manage.
Mark Johnston’s Nayef Road heads the British challenge that is completed
by the Ralph Beckett-trained Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega, and the
David O’Meara-trained Eagles By Day. Jessica Harrington’s Barbados and
the Luke Comer-trained Raa Atoll also hold entries.
There are also 17 horses remaining in the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying
Five Stakes, headed by the Denis Hogan-trained Make A Challenge and Kevin
Ryan’s Glass Slippers. A strong British contingent also includes Que
Amoro, Liberty Beach and A’Ali. The Paddy Twomey-trained Sonaiyla was
added to the race this morning.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Pretty Gorgeous and Donnacha O'Brien’s Shale,
first and second in the Group 2 A.R.M Debutante Stakes over this course
and distance, head the 18 entries for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Ken Condon’s impressive maiden winners Teresa Mendoza and Thunder Beauty,
Jim Bolger’s Aunty Bridy and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mother Earth and
the race sponsor’s A Ma Chere, trained by Dermot Weld, are other notable
A total of 16 horses are going forward for the Goffs Vincent O’Brien
National Stakes and among them is the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of
The Seas which will bid to give his trainer a third consecutive win in
the race. He is a Group 2 winner and unbeaten in both starts at Newmarket
to date. Royal Ascot winner Battleground, trained by Aidan O'Brien heads
the home team along with Lucky Vega, the three and a half-length winner
of the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh for Jessica
Harrington and Jim Bolger’s Group 2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes
winner Mac Swiney. The John Murphy-trained Charterhouse and Joseph
O'Brien’s Thunder Moon, both impressive course and distance winners, were
supplemented for the race this morning.
Tim Husbands, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “We are delighted
with the depth and breadth of entries across the weekend, today’s final
entries and forfeits reveal what will be a thrilling weekend of top class
action. The supporting races are equally as strong and the weekend is
shaping up to become a world-class sporting event.”
Pat Keogh, CEO of the Curragh Racecourse said: “Longines Irish Champions
Weekend, only in its seventh year, has already established itself as one
of the major festivals. The quality of racing is always excellent and we
are delighted with this year’s entries. It promises to be two very
special days racing.”