Japanese star Deirdre among 11 remaining in QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes

Deirdre is set to make history this weekend by becoming the first Japanese-trained runner in Ireland when she lines up for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday afternoon, Day 1 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

The oriental star is among 11 horses going forward for the first of six Group 1 races over the two days.

The field for the €1.25m feature event on Saturday was further strengthened today when Scottish-born Lambourn-based trainer Mark Johnston supplemented Elarqam with Roger Charlton’s Headman standing his ground.

The home defence of the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes will be lead as always by champion trainer Aidan O’Brien who still has 6 horses remaining in the race.

Magical, Hunting Horn, Magic Wand, Anthony Van Dyck, Magna Grecia and Pink Dogwood all stand their ground, with the Ballydoyle-based handler stating:

“Magna Grecia could run in the Champion Stakes. His plan after the Irish Guineas had been the Juddmonte International at York, which he didn’t run in, the Irish Champion Stakes and then back to the mile later in the season at Ascot.

“We’ve been very happy with Magical since she ran at York. We’ll know closer to the weekend, but plenty could run at Leopardstown,” O’Brien admitted.

Kevin Prendergast has Madhmoon in the race with Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity also likely to feature on Saturday afternoon

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse and CEO of the Curragh Racecourse, said of the entries:

“Longines Irish Champions Weekend is a highlight of the global racing calendar and this is reflected in the quality of the entries in the races, we are delighted to see such a good representation from Ireland and abroad and are looking forward to a thrilling weekend of top class racing.”

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