The overseas challenge for September’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and The Curragh has been further strengthened at the second entry stage.
Prix Du Jockey Club winner Almanzor has been added to the €1.25m Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, September 10th. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, who is bringing a strong team to Ireland for the weekend, he is the winner of five of his seven starts and is one of four French-trained horses in the race. The strong British challenge is boosted by the addition of Godolphin’s Hawkbill, trained by Charlie Appleby, who was successful in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown early last month.
The pair join a bumper initial entry which is headed by star three year old Harzand, the Derby hero at both Epsom and The Curragh, and the impressive Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup winner, Postponed. There are 38 horses remaining in the race compared to 26 at this stage 12 months ago and of those, 20 are Group/Grade 1 winners.
Jean-Claude Rouget has confirmed that Qemah, who added to her Group 1 Coronation Stakes success at Royal Ascot with a comfortable win in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville recently, is a definite starter in the €350,000 Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes. A total of 26 horses remain in the race including Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Jet Setting and runner-up, Minding, who has gone on to win the Oaks at Epsom, the Group 1 Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh as well as the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Minding, who is now a six-time Group 1 winner, also holds an entry in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes on the same day which could result in her taking on the colts for the first time.
Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George and Bondi Beach head the entries for the €400,000 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Sunday, September 11th and the race is also the immediate target for the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange who added to his list of big race wins with a second success in the Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup. Last year’s Doncaster St Leger winner Simple Verse, the Royal Ascot winner Dartmouth, and Trip To Paris also stand their ground.
Alexios Komnenos, trained by Tommy Stack and Dermot Weld’s Currency Converter join an exciting entry for the €350,000 Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. They finished second and third respectively to Aidan O’Brien’s Churchill in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown. Another second entry for the race is Boynton, trained by Charlie Appleby, who was third to the O’Brien-trained War Decree in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. They join an already strong entry that includes Caravaggio, Douglas Macarthur, Mehmas, and Medicine Jack.
O’Brien is responsible for two of the three additions to the €350,000 Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. He has entered his impressive Jockey Club Of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes winner Promise To Be True, and Rhododendron, who was the winner of a maiden race at Goodwood. Joseph O’Brien has entered his Jockey Club Of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes third Intricately and she joins an impressive line-up that features the likes of Roger Charlton’s Frankel filly Fair Eva, such a good winner of the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Kazimiera who impressed for Charlie Appleby on her first start at Ascot late last month.