Preview of Day one of Longines Irish Champions Weekend


By Luke and Samantha

The sixth year of Longines Irish Champions Weekend kicks off at Leopardstown with Day two at the Curragh. The Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes gets the meeting underway. Nine runners have been declared to take their chance in this Listed contest over seven furlongs. Raven’s Cry heads the betting after two wins in a row. The horse I like is Pronouncement for trainer Johnny Murtagh with Chris Hayes in the saddle. This daughter of Declaration Of War has failed to get her head in front to date but I think that could change here. She has ran three times and ran well each time. She was last seen finishing third behind Harpocrates and Geometrical at Naas last month. The form of that race is working out well with the winner Harpocrates , since finishing second in a Group 3 at York. The second Geometrical, has since won his maiden easily at Gowran and been placed in Group 2 company at the Curragh. Pronouncement steps up to seven furlongs for the first time which I think will help and will hopefully see him get her head in front at 7/1.

Race two is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Pentigo’ Handicap over one mile and four furlongs. Barbados brings Group form into the race and carries top weight. This son of Galileo was second in the Group 2 Chester Vase over a slightly further distance. He was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy Stakes in Newmarket in July and has been off the track since. He was second over course and distance back in June to Rakan with Eminent Authority back in third. I think he has the ability to carry top weight and go close at 10/1.

Samantha’s thoughts the English Runner :

Joseph Tuite has Machine Learner. This horse has been a model of consistency all season. His best run was his penultimate start when he only got beaten half a length in a class four at Sandown. He is stepping up in class but on the same mark as his last win.

Race three is the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes over one mile. Mogul was an expensive purchase costing 3,400,000gns. This son of Galileo is a brother to Group 1 winner Japan. Mogul has had two runs on the track, winning second time out easily at the Curragh. He is he most likely winner. I think Rebel Tale is the horse that will follow him home. He has had five runs and the best of those was last time out. He finished second behind Armory in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. If he reproduces that form I think he will be the one to follow home the warm favourite.

Race four is the Group 3 Paddy Power Betting Shop Stakes over one mile and a half. Leo De Fury is trained by Jessica Harrington and will be ridden by Shane Foley. This son of Australia has had four career starts. He won his first two starts by five lengths on both occasions. He was last seen finishing second behind Buckhurst at the Curragh beaten a head. I think the step up in trip will be a positive and bring enough improvement to reverse the form with Buckhurst.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Kelly’s Dino is the sole English horse. He’s rated to have a really good chance but he’s a six year old taking on the younger horses. He was 19th of twenty two in the Ebor last time and this would be the biggest win of his career.

The feature race of the weekend is the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champions Stakes over one mile and two furlongs. Magical sets the standard here after finishing second to Enable on her last two outings. This daughter of Galileo has been a model of consistency this year not finishing out of the first two. If she runs to her best from she will be very hard to beat.
I think Madhmoon willl follow her home. Veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast saddles this colt by Dawn Approach. He runs over the distance for the first time. He was last seen winning at Leopardstown a month ago over a mile. Prior to that he struggled in the Irish Derby but was second in the English equivalent back in June. I think the trip will be ideal and he will run a great race at 6/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Interestingly, Elarqam was supplemented into this exciting race and he’s five from twelve. He’s followed in some really good horses and was looking for a three timer, after successes in a listed and a group three race, but was squeezed up in the Juddmonte International and the jockey said he should’ve won.

Headman is a horse I wouldn’t have expected to have run in this but he deserves his place as he has won two rout twos in his last two starts. He’s still relatively unexposed and he may prefer a bit more cut in the ground.

Race six is the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang over one mile. I think the English raider Suedois is the one to side with. He was last seen winning at Goodwood in a Group 3 contest over seven furlongs. He won this race back in 2017 on similar ground. He has ran five times since June and has been in the placings on each occasion. I think he can go close here at 4/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runners:

Clipper Logistics own Space Traveller and this son of Bated Breath won the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot but has since been beaten in the Lennox Stakes and a group three at York. This is his optimum trip from the looks of it.

Matterhorn is another runner for Mark Johnston and he was last seen one week ago, following in Great Scot at Haydock in a group three. He won the Middle Distance Championship at All-Weather Finals Day. He’s kind of lost his way of late as he’s stepped into class one company.

Suedois won this in 2017 and got back to winning ways after a series of placed efforts last time in a group three at Goodwood. He’s a lovely horse but the younger brigade may be a little bit to much for him.

The penultimate race in the card is the Group 1 Ccolmore ‘Fastnet Rock’ Matron Stakes over one mile for Fillies. Hermosa was disappointing last time out but I think she will return to her best here. This Aidan O’Brien trained daughter of Galileo was an impressive dual Guineas winner earlier in the season. She was then bet at Royal Ascot when finishing second behind the French trained Watch Me. I think she will return to her best here and go close at 11/4.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Last year, the finish to the race was thrilling. Laurens and Alpha Centauri fought it out- tooth and nail- to the end. The former prevailed and goes again this year. John Dance’s filly hasn’t had it as easy this term. She was 2nd in the Lockinge, sixth in the Queen Anne and won the Prix Rothschild. Last time, she had to give 7lbs to the younger Shine So Bright and only went down a short head. She’s my idea of the winner.

The finale on the card is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Soverign Path’ Handicap over seven furlongs. Silverkode has been second in the last two renewals of this race . He was second in 2017 off a mark of 99 and in 2018 off a mark of 91. He now runs off a mark 83 for Joseph Murphy. I think off this lower mark he will go very close again at 6/1.

Samantha’s thoughts on the English Runner:

Admirality is one of two Middleham Park horses but is trained in England. He hasn’t won since his first start for Roger Fell in May. He’s 3lbs higher than then even after quite a few runs. Shawaamekh is really lightly raced despite being aged five, having made his debut just over a year ago. He’s won his last two and deserves his place here.

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