Longines Irish Champions weekend takes place next weekend, September 10th and 11th, at Leopardstown and the Curragh. The weekend sees the running of 10 Group races, including 5 Group 1 races and we have taken a look at the possible runners.
Next Saturday sees the running of, potentially, one of the greatest Irish Champions Stakes to have ever taken place – and, arguably, one of the best Group 1 flat races to have ever been run on these shores. Dual Irish & English Derby winner Harzand, French Derby Winner Almanzor, English 1,000 Guineas & Oaks winner Minding, 2015 Irish Champions Stakes second and Breeders Cup heroine Found along with 2015 British Champions Stakes & 2016 Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Fascinating Rock are just some of the sensational entries for next weekend’s showpiece.
Supporting cards, with another four Group 1s, featuring (possibly) Qemah, Jet Setting, Lumiere, Sea of Grace, Eziyra, Rhododendron, Capri, Churchill, War Decree, Order of St George & Big Orange really whets the appetite for what should be one of the highest-class gatherings of equine stars ever assembled here in the Emerald Isle.
Aidan O’Brien & Ballydoyle
Aidan O’Brien, enjoying a stellar year even by his own ludicrously high standards, has genuine aspirations of taking all of this year’s Group 1’s back to Ballydoyle. Minding, Air Force Blue & Order of St George swept up the Group 1’s of Sunday’s 2015 fixture and, with a massive battalion being launched from his Tipperary base at the centrepiece of the Irish flat-racing calendar, it will surprise no-one should he better last year’s haul.
At the other end of the spectrum are Adrian Keatley and Jet Setting. Bought for just 12,000 guineas, she won this year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas (beating Minding no less!!) and was subsequently sold to the China Horse Club for £1.3m! Soft ground will see her well fancied in Saturday’s Matron Stakes.
Add in Group 2s, Group 3s, a €200k Sales race, Premier Handicaps worth €150k and total prize money of €4.5m and next weekend really is the weekend that has something for everyone! A race meeting that continues to go from strength to strength, we could see something very special at Leopardstown and the Curragh next weekend.
See thetote.com for a chance to win tickets and an overnight stay to Longines Irish Champions Weekend!