A quartet of Japanese horses, last year’s Melbourne Cup winner and many of the biggest names in Irish, British and French racing feature among the entries for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Saturday, September 10th.
High-class globetrotters Panthalassa and Stay Foolish, trained by the legendary Yoshito Yahagi, Toru Kurita’s Titleholder and Do Deuce, trained by Yasuo Tomomichi, could well come up against 11-time Group 1 winner Verry Elleegant in the €1 million contest. She is continuing her career in France with trainer Francis-Henri Graffard after winning the Melbourne Cup in November when with Chris Waller.
An entry of seven from France includes Graffard’s Sealiway, winner of the British Champion Stakes last season, the Pia and Joakim Brandt-trained Pretty Tiger and the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Erevann.
Charlie Appleby made history when winning the Newmarket 2000 Guineas, the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas with Coroebus, Modern Games and Native Trail and they feature among a British-trained contingent of 20. Among that number are William Haggas’ unbeaten triple Group 1 winner Baaeed, for many the best turf horse in the world at present, and his stable companion Alenquer, successful in last weekend’s Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Appleby’s 2021 Epsom Derby winner Adayar and the leading Epsom Derby fancy for this year, Desert Crown, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, are also entered, along with John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North and Mishriff, the latter in the top 10 highest prize money earners of all time.
Last year’s winning trainer Aidan O'Brien has put 15 horses in the 10-furlong contest with Stone Age, Luxembourg, High Definition, Tuesday and Changingoftheguard among those bidding to give him his 11th success. Joseph O'Brien’s State Of Rest, Hannibal Barca and Buckaroo are interesting early contenders along with the Paddy Twomey-trained La Petite Coco, Noel Meade’s Layfayette, Donnacha O'Brien’s Piz Badile and the Sheila Lavery-trained New Energy.
The versatile Verry Elleegant, a winner over eight, 10, 12 and 16 furlongs in Australia, is also an intriguing entry for the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday, September 11th.
There are 64 early contenders this time with rising star Kyprios, Bolshoi Ballet and United Nations three of 15 in the race for five-time winner Aidan O'Brien. Johnny Murtagh has entered last year’s winner Sonnyboyliston while Joseph O'Brien has put six horses in the race with last year’s third Baron Samedi, Raise You and Okita Soushi, first and second in last weekend’s Listed Hanlon Concrete Orby Stakes, and Master Of Reality included. Princess Zoe, trained by Tony Mullins, is another top-notch entry.
Dermot Weld enjoyed a very special Curragh day on Sunday when winning the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas with the Moyglare Stud Farm-owned Homeless Songs and their dual Comer Group International Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song, Falcon Eight and Azallya are his three entries as he bids to extend his record of nine wins in the race.
Last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Hurricane Lane and Manobo, trained by Charlie Appleby, top a strong British entry of 17 horses that includes the likes of the Roger Varian-trained Believe In Love, a winner at Leopardstown last season, Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, William Haggas’ Gaassee and Hamish, the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum and Ralph Beckett’s Scope.
Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “There is a terrific summer of racing ahead and we can eagerly anticipate many of the big-race winners battling it out for both the Irish Champion Stakes and the Comer Group International Irish St Leger in September. It’s wonderful that there is such an international feel to the early entries for both races and it augurs well for a thrilling renewal of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.”