VADENI is the most likely winner of next Saturday’s Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes, says senior Irish flat handicapper, Garry O’Gorman.

“He’s been targeted at this race for a long time, he’s top-rated of all the intended runners, and I would expect him to confirm his Eclipse form with Mishriff,” O’Gorman told The Irish Field yesterday.

Vadeni has an official rating of 123, which leaves him 4lb clear of Mishriff on 119. Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto (118) and Luxembourg (117) have slightly more to find with the Prix du Jockey Club winner.

“Luxembourg is the dark horse,” O’Gorman said. “He showed great promise over a mile at Newmarket when third in the 2000 Guineas. He didn’t run to his rating when he won over 10 furlongs at the Curragh recently but he was coming back after a long break, he showed he stayed the trip, and he displayed battling qualities. He’ll need to improve considerably to win the Irish Champion Stakes but there’s reason to think he will improve and be right in the mix.”

With the Group 1-winning fillies Tuesday and La Petite Coco also reported to be on course for the Leopardstown feature, the race looks set to once again take high rank in the table of the world’s best races which is compiled at the end of the year. O’Gorman believes the absence of Baaeed, the world’s leading racehorse, is actually helping the race’s status.

“It would have been great if Baaeed came but there’s no doubt that some of the current intended runners would have ducked out in that scenario,” he explained. “The race’s rating is calculated by taking the average rating of the first four finishers.


“Historically, when you get a ‘crack’ favourite, the opposition scurries away and sometimes an opportunist trainer will manage to grab fourth place with a 90-rated horse. That has happened in the Tattersalls Gold Cup a few times and threatened that race’s status.”

Looking at the other Irish Champions Weekend highlights, O’Gorman said: “Homeless Songs versus Saffron Beach in the Matron Stakes would be hugely exciting. It’s always good to see the different generations taking each other on.

“Hopefully Charlie Appleby will send over one of his best two-year-olds to take on our best in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. The Godolphin presence has really added to the race in recent years.

“The Flying Five could be a relatively modest Group 1 unless John Quinn decides to run his dual Group 1 winner Highfield Princess.”

Handicap ratings to drop

MOST Irish handicap horses will have their official rating lowered by 2lb on Monday. One of several interim drops made throughout the year, it is a countermeasure against the gradual ‘creep’ or inflation in ratings as the season develops. O’Gorman said: “Blacktype horses are exempt from this drop, so that they remain in line with international standards. We have found that blacktype horses are still able to compete if dropped back to handicaps. Masen and Yaxeni are two good examples from last year.”