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Shamreen and Ballydoyle trio gain weekend’s Free Entry to Group 1 Races for Longines Irish Champions Weekend

August 22, 2017

Four of the weekend’s big winners at the Curragh sealed their automatic place in the line-up for a quartet of Group 1 events at the upcoming Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

The Aga Khan-owned Shamreen’s impressive success in the Qatar Airways Royal Whip Stakes for trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen has earned her free entry in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday September 9.

Elsewhere the red-hot form of Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard continued through the weekend’s racing and three big race victories added to his potential team for the Group 1 races at the Curragh on day two of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday September 10.

On Saturday, leading stayer Order Of St George landed his third consecutive victory in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial, thereby sealing his automatic place in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, a race in which he won in 2015 and was second last year.

Ballydoyle’s strength in depth in the juvenile division was further underlined with victories for Rostropovich in the Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes and Magical in the Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes.

Rostroprovich’s victory gains him his place in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on September 10, while Magical receives free entry in the Moyglare Stud Stakes on the same day.

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “There are less than three weeks to go to the Longines Irish Champions Weekend and the big races are really taking shape. We saw some high quality racing at the Curragh over the weekend and not alone can we anticipate the four winners of those ‘Free Entry Scheme’ races to turn up for the big event on September 9 and 10, but there were plenty more in action who will fancy their chances of revenge.”

Aidan O’Brien commented:  “We were delighted with both Rostropovich and Coat Of Arms in the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. Rostropovich probably wasn’t mad about the ground but he stayed going well. Looking at him in his races I’d think he will stay further than seven furlongs but on nicer ground a race like the National Stakes would be possible. On better ground he might travel better so it is possible he will be in our thoughts for the National Stakes.

“Order Of St George is in good form and he did everything right in the Irish St Leger Trial on Saturday. He handled the ease in the ground well and stays very well. In all fairness to Order Of St George, he is a very consistent horse and the plan is for him to come back to the Curragh for the Irish St Leger. He had a break after Royal Ascot so it was nice to get him back going and Ryan (Moore) was very happy with him.”

Aidan continued: “Donnacha (O’Brien) was delighted with Magical in the Debutante Stakes on Sunday. She handled the ground well and she’s a nice filly. We ran three in the Debutante Stakes all with the view of coming back here for the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Ryan thought that Happily would quicken better on better ground and Seamus (Heffernan) felt the same for September but it was her first run back since Royal Ascot and she’ll come on for that. If the ground is not too soft they will all come back for the Moyglare with Clemmie. We’ve been happy with Clemmie since Newmarket.”

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