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Leopardstown Irish Champions Weekend Preview And Betting Tips – Day Two

Leopardstown Irish Champions Weekend Preview And Betting Tips – Day Two

The second afternoon of Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday sees the action switch to the Curragh and an eight-race card from 2.00pm-5.50pm. It's another stunningly high-quality offering with a quartet of Group 1 races: the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (3.10pm), the Moyglare Stud Stakes (3.40pm), the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (4.10pm) and the Comer Group International Irish St Leger (4.40pm). The Racing Post return with their betting preview and tips for day two of the Leopardstown Irish Champions Weekend.



2.00 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap (Premier Handicap, 6f)

Not the easiest starting point as a field of 22 get set to lock horns in this sprint for a bounty of ?75,000 to the winner. Joint top-weight is carried by Downforce for Willie McCreery and Gulliver for David O'Meara and the UK raider is worth some interest.

At six-years-old, he will bring up a half-century of racecourse appearances in this event. He's only bagged three turf wins (3-29, placed a further nine times) but his record at this premier Irish venue is noted.

He was third in this contest last year (rated 8lb lower) on his first visit and in July he returned to be beaten by a short head in a handicap over slightly further (would have been in front at this distance when the line passed). Since that, he came back again last month but finished only seventh in a Group 3 over C&D.

He's 2lb higher than he was in midsummer here but at this venue he's certainly got a chance to get in the shake-up.

One with more scope for improvement, though, is Charles O'Brien's BIG GOSSEY. He's only three-years-old and so he'll have to be streetwise amongst these older rivals but he impressed when defeating 16 of his peers over C&D in June on his seasonal bow; getting to the front close home under Michael Hussey.

Raised 8lb on that score, he finished a close third in late July in another valuable 3YO handicap here, the drop back to 5f perhaps not helping when it came to making his challenge. He has been dropped in the ratings for that effort and remains completely unexposed at this distance.

In-form British raider Treacherous and the Edward Lynam-trained former C&D winner Romantic Proposal are others for the shortlist.

Selection: Big Gossey @ 8/1

Next Best: Gulliver @ 10/1


2.35 - Moyglare 'Jewels' Blandford Stakes (Fillies' And Mares' Group 2, 1m2f)

A few of these fillies' have points to prove on this stage. Magic Wand put to bed an irregularity on her seasonal reappearance when she won over a mile here in Group 2 company, the first time she had scored on Irish soil in her career. That was a weak heat for the grade and she's been beaten in the Eclipse at Sandown (entirely forgivable) and the Nassau at Glorious Goodwood since.

The latter effort was a shade disappointing and leaves her with ground to make up on One Voice, Jessica Harrington's charge having finished a good second there and a fair third in the Yorkshire Oaks since.

Shane Foley prefers to stick with CAYENNE PEPPER of the Harrington trio. William Buick has been on One Voice for her two UK runs recently but, presumably, the stable jockey would have enjoyed first call.

The daughter of Australia chased home Magical over C&D in a Group 1 on her comeback and was duly sent off favourite for the Irish Oaks next time, where she managed second behind Even So. It was the same story in a Group 3 at Cork last month and, in both instances, Cayenne Pepper has been travelling with lots of gusto, only to find it tough in the final two-furlongs. This drop in trip might be just what she wants.

The progressive Lemista has four on the spin for Ger Lyons but faces her toughest assignment so far, while Roger Varian's Gold Wand is entitled to harbour designs with last month's York Listed win boosted by the runner-up at Doncaster this week.

Dermot Weld could use a winner and he has two chances here. Amma Grace has more experience but Oisin Orr partners Naas maiden winner Zawara in the Aga Khan colours. The Dubawi filly held off 110-rated Epsom Derby third Amhran Na Bhfiann for that success and could have plenty of further progress to come on only her third outing.

Selection: Cayenne Pepper @ 6/1

Next Best: Zawara @ 20/1


3.10 - Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (Group 1, 5f)

The first of a fantastic four Group 1 races on the bounce and this one certainly won't take long to sort. More than half the field have come across from Britain looking to export the ?150,000 prize and they bring rock-solid depth to the race.

Amongst them is A'Ali who held off Make A Challenge - the leading Irish contender in this - when taking the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes over C&D in July. That race was run on similar ground to what is forecast now and both will expect to get in the firing line.

Crisford's challenger was putting together a fine season at that point but he now has ground to find with QUE AMORO on their Nunthorpe run. Michael Dods' filly gave the brilliant Battaash a fright on the Knavesmire before finishing an honourable second (with 2½-lengths in hand over fourth home A'Ali).

The fact she routinely does so well at York bodes well coming here for the first time and she may be the one, with her Listed Ayr win in June representing a super effort on the clock.

Denis Hogan's Make A Challenge has won a pair of Listed races here (6f) and at Navan (5f) since that defeat behind A'Ali. He's very consistent and it would be a fitting tale if the trainer bagged this prize after the unfortunate passing of Sceptical this summer.

Equilateral has lost her way after a pleasing reappearance behind Battaash at Royal Ascot, while Liberty Beach falls into the same category having won on return at Haydock and shaped well in that King's Stand (third). Both are capable, however.

Glass Slippers has encountered Battaash in both starts this term but last year's Prix De L'Abbaye winner could be a massive danger to all concerned on the strength of that form. All in all, this looks being won by a British-trained filly - but it's not easy settling on which one.

Selection: Que Amoro @ 9/2

Next Best: Glass Slippers @ 5/1

3.40 - Moyglare Stud Stakes (Fillies' Group 1, 7f)

The O'Brien trinity are well represented in a race that Aidan has claimed five times in the last 10 years but it's his progeny that look to be holding the ace-cards today.

PRETTY GORGEOUS (Joseph) had both Shale (Donnacha) and Mother Earth (Aidan) behind when winning the Debutante Stakes on testing ground over C&D last month. She did that in good style and was well on top in the end. There's likely more progress from her on what is only her fourth start and that effort is already setting a lofty standard for anything that wants to finish ahead of her.

She's got an excellent chance with Declan McDonogh deputising for Shane Crosse. Ryan Moore, meanwhile, opts for Shale ahead of the Ballydoyle runner and that's telling in terms of Mother Earth's chance.

Aunty Bridy won a nice maiden over C&D at the Derby meeting in June and might have a decent step forward in her for Jim Bolger, while Ken Condon's Teresa Mendoza was maybe undone by heavy ground over 6f in a Group 3 last month and is another with scope to raise her game as she goes up in distance.

They may all be playing for minor roles, however, with Pretty Gorgeous holding an exceptional chance on what she's done thus far and she wouldn't look out of place against the colts in the following National Stakes.

Selection: Pretty Gorgeous @ 10/11

Next Best: Teresa Mendoza @ 11/1


4.10 - Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Group 1, 7f)

Vintage Stakes winner Battleground is on the up and he, along with Phoenix Stakes scorer Lucky Vega and unbeaten UK raider MASTER OF THE SEAS, are all locked in a squabble for favouritism.

They've all got valid form claims. Charlie Appleby's contender won the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in impressive fashion on just his second start. He had Devious Company in second spot and Battleground held off the same rival to gain his Group 2 success at Glorious Goodwood in late July, adding to his Chesham win at Royal Ascot.

The Ballydoyle runner was behind Lucky Vega in a Naas maiden when that one made a winning start back in early June. Jessica Harrington's colt then finished second to Law Of Indices in the Railway Stakes here in July over 6f, before emphatically reversing those placings when stretching right away from The Lir Jet to win the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last month.

That win makes him the highest-rated juvenile in Ireland this season so far and clearly gives him a strong chance. There's no reason to suspect this extra furlong will derail him either.

Both Master Of The Seas and Battleground are greatly feared and, in truth, a win for any of them wouldn't be classed as a shock.

At a massive price it might be worth risking John Murphy's Charterhouse to get involved with the leading trio. He put up two excellent efforts in defeat over 7f at Leopardstown (including in a Group 3) before comfortably wining his maiden over this C&D last month. The runner-up was due in a Listed contest at Leopardstown on Saturday and might give the form a boost.

Regardless, Charterhouse has quickly achieved a three-figure rating and he's got plenty potential for better, which might see him in the frame.

With Charlie Appleby bidding to win the National Stakes for the third year running after wins with Quorto and Pinatubo, his Master Of The Seas is probably the one to beat.

Selection: Master Of The Seas @ 11/4

Next Best: Charterhouse @ 33/1

4.40 - Comer Group International Irish St. Leger (Group 1, 1m6f)

Aidan O'Brien (5) and Dermot Weld (8) have won 13 Irish St Leger's between them and they'll fancy adding to that tally.

Search For A Song won this last year and - with the race not restricted to three-year-olds like the Doncaster version - returns to defend his crown. He wasn't disgraced behind Magical (third) in the Tattersalls Gold Cup in July and a return to this trip is almost certainly in his favour. It would, though, be a positive if his trainer was in better form (0-26 coming into the weekend). If the Weld team hit their stride before the off, he could be viewed in a different light.

Last year's Irish Derby winner Sovereign gave Enable some kind of a race in the King George but was previously well beaten off by Twilight Payment over this C&D. Joseph O'Brien's Teofilo gelding, meanwhile, backed that up with a comfortable Curragh Cup win in July over track and trip and has to be respected as he completes his tune-up for a trip to the Melbourne Cup in November.

FUJAIRA PRINCE doesn't have many miles on the clock for a six-year-old and he defied a hike in the ratings for his decisive Royal Ascot win to land last month's Ebor at York. He's really thriving at this distance and probably hasn't peaked just yet. His rider has won a couple of St Legers over at Doncaster and might well add the Curragh's version to his CV now.

Selection: Fujaira Prince @ 3/1

Next Best: Twilight Payment @ 11/4


5.15 - Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes (6½f)

At this rate of going the British raiders are going to outscore their hosts but it's very hard to get away from the claims of STAR OF ORION for the Ralph Beckett team.

He made a winning start at Newmarket in June and was collared only on the line conceding a penalty at York on his second start. Back on the Knavesmire last month (7f, good, good to soft), he just failed to last out when again conceding weight to Ataser and Mayaas. Those rivals gave a strong nod to that form when finishing first and fourth in a strong Doncaster nursery earlier this week.

The booking of Ryan Moore certainly helps this afternoon and Star Of Orion is very much the one they all must fear.

Jim Bolger's Eastern Voice has kept good company this summer already, including when chasing home the smart prospect Vafortino at Roscommon most recently. He's the most likely of the home team.

Selection: Star Of Orion

Next Best: Eastern Voice


5.50 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Northfields' Handicap (Premier Handicap, 1m2f)

As with Saturday's Leopardstown card, we conclude with a monster-field handicap at the Curragh and the best play is to try and locate two with decent chances.

Mick Halford's team are in good tune right now and Simsir comes back into a handicap after contesting Listed events at Limerick and Leopardstown since returning from a profitable spring stint in Dubai.

He was a length behind Bolleville at the Foxrock track last time over this distance and that rival was not disgraced next time in Group 1 company in France. Joint top-weight he'll carry here but Ronan Whelan's mount may have the class to overcome his burden. The trainer has got an excellent hand to play and both Sky Seven and Finans Bay command attention from further down the weights - albeit William Buick's mount has done all his previous winning at Dundalk.

It's been some season to date for Johnny Murtagh and the mare WILDERNESS has been a star for him. She won three times in a short space of time from mid-June and is now rated 24lb higher than when she began that sequence at Gowran Park.

She's twice been nailed on the line since at Down Royal and Naas over this distance and could easily be arriving here in pursuit of a six-timer. Her latest run was off this mark of 83 and Danny Sheehy's 5lb claim gives her scope to get involved once more.

Selection: Simsir

Next Best: Wilderness.






V: 1.14.1 All rights reserved. August 2021