Big names on course for Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh | The Curragh Racecourse
Big names on course for Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh

Big names on course for Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh

Tuesday September 6


Big names on course for Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh

Top three-year-old Vadeni, fellow French raider Onesto, globetrotter Mishriff and the leading Irish challenger Luxembourg all remain on target to contest the first running of the Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday. 

The race has long been a target of the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Vadeni, the five-length winner of the French Derby and successful again in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown where his immediate victim was the much-travelled Mishriff, set for his final outing in Europe on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, a World Pool event for all eight races at the Dublin track.  

In all, 11 horses have stood their ground for the €1 million feature with Fabrice Chappet’s Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto set to line out alongside the Aidan O'Brien-trained Luxembourg which made a winning return to the fray after a near four-month absence in the Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh. 

The home defence is boosted by Jim Bolger’s Boundless Ocean and the rain appears to have arrived in time for the Paddy Twomey-trained La Petite Coco to take her chance. Aidan O'Brien has also left in Broome, Stone Age and Tuesday, Dermot Weld has Duke De Sessa and the raiding party is made up of the William Haggas-trained Alenquer which gained his most important win to date in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May. 

The Weld-trained Homeless Songs is set to make her eagerly anticipated return to action in the first of the Group 1 races on Longines Irish Champions Weekend, the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes. Moyglare Stud Farm’s sensational filly, absent since winning the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas by five and a half lengths, is on course to clash with Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach, a more recent Group 1 winner at Deauville early last month. 

Aidan O'Brien has this morning supplemented Concert Hall for the race, he also has Tenebrism to call upon, while the remaining British challenge is made up of Alcohol Free and Prosperous Voyage, for trainers Ralph Beckett and Andrew Balding respectively, and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Lights On. 

Four Group 1 races are up for grabs at the Curragh on Sunday and the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend is highlighted by the Comer Group International Irish St Leger. 13 horses go forward for Friday’s final declaration stage and leading the way is Aidan O'Brien’s all-conquering Kyprios which bids to extend a winning run that includes top-flight success at Royal Ascot and at Goodwood last month.  

Paddy Twomey has this morning added Rosscarbery to the race while Joseph O'Brien has left his four-time Curragh winner Raise You and Cleveland in the season’s final Classic. Dual winner Search For A Song, trained by Dermot Weld, the Ger Lyons-trained Camorra, William Haggas’ Hamish, Tony Mullins’ star Princess Zoe and the sponsor’s Seattle Creek are also in the mix. 

A bumper total of 25 remain in the field for the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes and they are headed by the John Quinn-trained Highfield Princess, the clearcut winner of the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York. A strong British challenge also features the Michael Appleby-trained Raasel, Flotus, trained by Simon & Ed Chrisford, the James Tate-trained Royal Aclaim and Ebro River, last season’s Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes winner at the Curragh, which was supplemented this morning by trainer Hugo Palmer. 

Edward Lynam’s Romantic Proposal, winner of this race a year ago, fellow Group 1 winner A Case Of You, trained by Ado McGuinness and the Johnny Murtagh-trained Ladies Church and Jack Davison’s Mooneista, separated by just a short-head in the Barberstown Castle Sapphire Stakes over this course and distance in July, head the home challenge. 

Seventeen two-year-old fillies go forward for the 50th running of the Moyglare Stud Stakes and among them are the Aidan O'Brien-trained Meditate, unbeaten in four starts, the Charlie & Mark Johnston-trained Lakota Sioux and big local hopes Tahiyra for Dermot Weld and the Michael O'Callaghan-trained Olivia Maralda. 

Joseph O'Brien has supplemented course and distance winner Al Riffa for the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and he is among nine remaining in the race. Aidan O'Brien is typically well represented with the likes of Aesop’s Fables, Auguste Rodin, Cairo and Hans Andersen with the Charlie Fellowes-trained Marbaan and Richard Hannon’s Persian Force making up the challenge from across the Irish Sea. 

Tim Husbands, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “We are delighted to see the quality of entries across all races at Leopardstown for the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Saturday. The strong interest from the UK and France, supported by the strength in depth of entries from Irish trainers, will ensure highly competitive fields, fitting of such a wonderful occasion and the terrific support of our enthusiastic sponsors.”

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of the Curragh Racecourse, said, “Everybody here at the Curragh is greatly looking forward to racing on Sunday featuring four consecutive Group 1 races across a range of distances. The fields after today’s forfeit stage are very exciting and full of interest and quality. The support programme is very strong also. There will be lots of different off-track entertainment on the day, including the Moyglare Stud Kidzone, music from Allie Sherlock, the Newbridge Gospel Choir and the Artane Band. There will also be a Parade of Champions featuring well known retired racehorses such as Tiger Roll, Douvan and One For Arthur in association with Treo Eile.”

Click here for entries for Leopardstown on Saturday

Click here for entries for the Curragh on Sunday