Irish Champions Day



12.40 Ingabelle Stakes (Listed)


Corviglia looks a really smart filly and Lullaby is clearly well regarded but I’ve opted here for something at a bit of a price to give the market principals a run for their money, with the Ger Lyons-trained MALAYAN, who is 2 from 4 to date, and only went down narrowly last time when giving weight away at the Curragh. The re-opposing Madonnadelroasrio kept her at bay on that occasion, but that filly arrives here 6lbs worse off with the selection which should be more than enough for Malayan to turn the tables.

Limiti Di Greccio is a filly I’ve really warmed to but there’s a tenuous formline which might give my pick a slight edge over her today. Limiti Di Greccio broke her maiden with a smart performance last time out but it might be worth noting that the Jessica Harrington-trained filly, Tut Tut, won on the same card, over the same course and distance just half an hour later. For all she recorded a lower RPR, Tut Tut won in a marginally quicker time, despite carrying 2lbs more than the Paddy Twomey filly. Next time up though, Tut Tut couldn’t keep tabs on Malayan, finishing 4 ½ lengths adrift of her at the Curragh, albeit giving Ger Lyons’ filly 2lbs. Obviously there are different reasons as to why a race is run in a certain time but this just gives me feeling that at over double the price, Malayan might just represent the value.

Having beaten Pride Of Derry to break her maiden, in a race won by the smart Fourhometwo and wonderful Alpine Star in recent years, her form also ties in with the current outright favourite, Corviglia. Pride Of Derry beat Gwan So next time up who was subsequently easily beaten by today’s market leader, and although that’s not to say Malayan will definitely be in her league, it gives her a real chance.

Colin Keane rides for his boss Ger Lyons here instead but I’m inclined not to read into that too much and Oisin Orr is a very capable jockey in his own right. Hopefully Malayan can go well at a price!

1.10 Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 2)


You’d have to assume he’s second pick of the Joseph O’Brien pair but I’m inclined to give BUCKAROO a chance here having beaten today’s Ryan Moore/Aidan O’Brien representative cosily last time out. He ended up well off of the pace on debut and wasn’t able to get close to the front pair but made up plenty of ground for Shane Crosse’s urgings in the straight and finished a real eye-catcher.

Buckaroo made amends for a tardy start on debut with a much more professional performance next time up to get the better of Stone Age, with the front pair streaking clear all the way to the line. The winning margin was only a neck, and it wasn’t a massive RPR but I think that for all the winning margin was only a neck, the victory was more authoritative than it suggests and there could be plenty more to come.

Maritime Wings is a worthy favourite, with his two seconds behind the irrepressible Point Lonsdale, but I’m inclined to believe that this lad just might be capable of giving him a run for his money, given that they’ve entered him up here against his stablemate. I do wonder whether he may improve for more time and distance, but he seems to have a good set of gears on him and just might be ready for this big step up in class where I imagine he’ll get a greater test of stamina. Not without a chance.

1.40 Matron Stakes (Group 1)


Mother Earth has established herself as a very classy filly having landed both the 1,000 Guineas and the Prix Rothschild this season with three placed efforts in Group 1 contests splitting both victories and looks the obvious selection, but I quite like the chances of last year’s heroine CHAMPERS ELYSEES at an each way price.

Champers Elysees hasn’t looked much like her prolific self from last season, but I get the sense that she might just be getting prepped to peak here once again. Johnny Murtagh’s leading lady produced a much more encouraging effort last time out when quickening up eye-catchingly from the rear to chase home Acanella over a trip that maybe just over-stretched her stamina at the Curragh.

The effort followed a disappointing display in a hot renewal of the Falmouth Stakes on the Newmarket July course but excuses can be made for that below par effort as she had the door slammed on her at a crucial stage of the race and was looked after thereafter. Given the way Lady Bowthorpe stayed on from where she came from, it’s not inconceivable to think Champers Elysees could’ve threatened the front five or six, especially given how well she ran in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes on her previous start under a penalty.

It’s a race that’s been dominated by three-year-old's in recent seasons and nobody will be surprised if Ryan Moore works his magic aboard Mother Earth this afternoon but I’m really hoping that this filly can get involved when things heat up!

2.45 Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1)


Today’s feature event only involves four horses but where it lacks in quantity, it is more than made up for with the quality that is on show. Patrick Sarsfield is a very talented animal in his own right but is priced up at 50/1 to get his head in front here, and it’s no real surprise! With 9 Group 1’s between them, we’re set for a mouthwatering clash between St Mark’s Basilica, Poetic Flare and my selection TARNAWA.

St Mark’s Basilica has been brilliant all year, following on from where he left off as a juvenile and making it four Group 1’s on the bounce. He was an easy winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp with Poetic Flare chasing home in sixth, and followed up with another impressive display in the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly when upped in distance. The colt latterly took the Coral Eclipse at the start of July, scoring by three and a half lengths in a race that’s form has been bolstered to no end with the might Mishriff subsequently finishing a valiant second in the King George before stamping his class in the Juddmonte International.

Prix Du Jockey Club:

Coral Eclipse:

I’ve been very vocal on the socials about how well I regard Poetic Flare, who comes here stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time. The colt has had seven starts since the start of April and has answered nearly every question asked of him, landing two Group 1’s and finishing a battling second in three more. The colt ran in three versions of the 2,000 Guineas, English, French and Irish, within the space of three weeks, capturing the first before finishing 6th in the French (only beaten two and a half lengths, staying on), and going down by a short head in the Irish to his stablemate. He then blew away the St James’s Palace field and run two crackers in the Sussex Stakes when hanging across the course in the closing stages and the Prix Jacques le Marois, going down by a neck to the high-class Palace Pier.

St James’s Palace:

Prix Jacques le Marois:

As outlined above, Tarnawa is faced with overcoming the abilities of two exceptionally talented colts this afternoon, but she is no slouch herself, and this seems to be the time of the year where she really excels. The Shamardal mare ran up a sequence of three Group 1 victories last autumn, beginning in the second week of September with a power-packed display in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp. That victory was followed by further moments of brilliance in the Prix de l’Opera, eclipsing the efforts of Audarya and Alpine Star late on, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf where she was simply magical... if you pardon the pun.

Prix de l’Opera:

Breeders’ Cup Turf:

She also made light work of her prep run here, so there’s every reason to think she’ll be fully revved up for a crack at this. I say this as if she shouldn’t be but given their main aim is to get her to peak when going for her Arc tilt (for which I’m fully behind her for!), she may arrive here a little undercooked.

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