Leopardstown Racecourse is set to host the first day of the two-day line up of stellar racing this weekend.
The two-day meeting, held at Leopardstown on September 14th and the Curragh on September 15th, features six Group One races, with the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown the highlight.
Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes
To kick off the weekend of racing, eight runners are set to go to post in this Listed contest which is set over seven furlongs.
Aidan O’Brien’s Blissful goes to post under the guidance of stable jockey Ryan Moore. Can the daughter of Galileo keep up her latest form and win again? The two-year-old proved successful on her last outing at Tipperary.
Others to keep an eye on including Chris Hayes mount Pronouncement trained by Johnny Murtagh and Raven’s Cry who will be partnered by Billy Lee.
Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Petingo” Handicap
With a welcoming prize fund of €88,500, this one mile and five-furlong handicap welcomes 18 runners.
Willie Mullins Buildmeupbuttercup goes out as the ante-post favourite. The five-year-old comes off the back of an impressive win at the Galway Festival in July.
Ryan Moore takes the reins on Aidan O’Brien’s Eminence. Connections of the son of Sea The Stars will be eager for the three year old to revert to previous winning form.
Matthew Smith trained One Cool Poet is a name worth noting. Set to be ridden by Billy Lee, the seven-year-old has an impressive career to date. The son of Urban Poet has a 111 on his last three consecutive outings, the question hangs in balance, can he return to the winners’ circle at Leopardstown?
Selection: One Cool Poet
KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes
This Group 2 contest is one mile long and welcomes seven runners to the field.
Brother to Japan, Mogul will be partnered by Ryan Moore and will be a name to be reckoned with. The son of Galileo has a race record of 2,1.
Michael Halford trained Sinawann will be all out to give Mogul a challenge. The Aga Kahn owned two year old is expected to have further progress on the cards after his maiden win over this trip on his last outing at the Curragh.
Andrew Slattery’s Rebel Tale is one to watch on the betting market at an each-way price. Owned by Pat Garvey, the son of Tale Of Cat took a massive step forward in his career in taking second behind Ballydoyle’s Armory in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh last month.
Selection: Rebel Tale
Paddy Power Betting Shop Stakes
The Group 3 contest is run over one mile and four furlongs with nine runners set to go to post in a bid to win the €59,000 prize fund.
Aidan O’Brien’s Mount Everest makes a belated seasonal debut here at Leopardstown. The colt finished second in the Beresford Stakes last season which makes for good reading and will be one to reckoned with.
Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst comes off the back of an impressive win at the Curragh last month where he stormed home to win the Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes under the guidance of trainers brother Donnacha O’Brien. This time, Wayne Lordan takes up the duty of steering.
Jessica Harrington’s Leo De Fury is another name to note. Set to be ridden by Shane Foley, the three-year-old colt has won two out of four races and gave Buckhurst great competition at the Curragh last month.
Selection: Leo De Fury
QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes
The €1.25 million highlight of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend is this the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. The Group 1 contest welcomes an impressive list of runners, in which Aidan O’Brien has pledged to attack in strength.
Aidan O’Brien’s Magical has been running in the shadow of the peerless Enable. But will this Group 1 be where the filly can shine? She certainly has some tough competition.
Japanese mare Deirdre is the first Japanese trained horse set to run in Ireland. Partnered with Oisin Murphy, the five-year-old is put on a superb display in landing the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last month.
English trainer Mark Johnston runs Elarqam in the one mile, two-furlong contest. Then four year old had an excellent run at York last month to finish third to superstar Japan. Certainly, one to watch in this hot water contest.
Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes
The Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes is run over one mile, open to horses three years and older, and welcomes nine runners to go to post.
Listowel’s winner only on Monday last, Lancaster House has won on all three of his outings, so this step up in grade is a well worthy test for the Aidan O’Brien trained colt.
Oisin Murphy takes the mount on Mark Johnston’s Matterhorn. The four-year-old has a solid reputation at Group 3 level so it will be interesting to see if the step-up in grade will cause issues.
Other entries to keep an eye on include David O’Meara’s trained Suedois and Richard Fahey’s Space Traveller.
Selection: Lancaster House
Coolmore “Fastnet Rock” Matron Stakes
The penultimate race of day one of Irish Champions Weekend welcomes the second Group 1. The Coolmore “Fastnet Rock” Matron Stakes takes place over one mile and hosts a field of seven runners.
Last years winner of this Group 1, Laurens is the name to watch out for. The four-year-old has held her form this season and finished a strong second at York last month.
Dual Guineas winner Hermosa will have something to prove. The three-year-old filly’s last outing was not her usual performance so connections will be hopeful the daughter of Galileo can bounce back to winning ways.
Stablemate, I Can Fly will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan is yet to fully prove herself at this level. It is important to note Ryan Moore prefers Hermosa. Perhaps one to watch on the betting market at an each-way price.
Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Sovereign Path” Handicap
The final race of the day, this Premiere Handicap is run over seven furlongs and seventeen runners are set to go to post. Open to horses three years of age and older, it is set to finish off a great day of horse racing in style.
Dermot Weld trained Jassaar was the worthy winner of the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh last month and is now up 7lb. However, the shorter trip this time around may not be ideal.
Current Option is another one to watch. The three-year-old trained by Adrain Mc Guinness may actually adjust better to the drop in trip. It was a close call in talent between him and Jassaar last month so the re-match will certainly be interesting.
Other entries to keep an eye on include Ger Lyons trained Viadera and Joseph Murphy’s Silverkode.
Selection: Current Option