AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW Sat: Irish Champions Weekend 2022 | Day One

Irish Champions Weekend 2022, Day 1
First Race: 1.30pm
Last Race: 5.30pm

1.30 – Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies) (2yo) (7f)

Several last time out winners in a race that is complicated by the ground. The token suggestion for placepots is Kayhana, who beat two dual subsequent winners at Limerick over 7 furlongs on her debut when the Dermot Weld team wasn’t firing on all cylinders. She could step forward significantly from that and is of most interest in a very tricky contest to start the day.

2.05 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Sovereign Path” Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) (7f)

Markaz Paname is a literal Group horse in a handicap who should take some beating even off 105 here, but he’s short enough and has to deal with stall 20 – which might give Colin Keane some tactical headaches. The ground is a plus for the admirable veteran Safe Voyage but he’s lost a step or two whilst fellow raider Roscolyn may be in the handicapper’s grip now. Current Option could be a solid each/way choice. He’s discovered his best form at the Galway Festival and he’s won from a 2lbs higher mark than this before, whilst the ground will be no problem either.

2.40 – KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 2) (2yo) (1m)

A fascinating contest here. The superbly bred Auguste Rodin (a son of Deep Impact and Rhododendron) was most impressive at Naas after an unlucky debut and is obviously well regarded although his stablemate Tower of London (Brother to six winners including the 2017 Irish Derby/St Leger winner Capri) looked like he could improve even more than the favourite when making an impressive winning debut here.

Jim Bolger’s Serious Challenge and Donnacha O’Brien’s Alder have both made positive impressions so far in their career and shouldn’t be far away in what looks a watching brief.

3.10 – Paddy Power Stakes (Group 3) (3yo+) (1m4f)

Thunder Kiss has only run one bad race in the last year, and if that effort is forgiven then she sets a high standard based on her thirds in Group 1 and Group 2 company. Conditions are just fine and she was only beaten a neck in this last year, and whilst point King and Beamish look fine prospects (and Earl of Tyrone was a close third in the Ebor) she makes most appeal if running to form.

3.45 – Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) (3yo+) (1m2f)

A race worthy of headlining the card, with six of the seven strong field being Group 1 winners. Vadeni is a short price favourite after following up an impressive win in the Prix du Jockey Club (Onesto behind in fifth) with a gutsy success in a high-class Eclipse at Sandown when Mishriff was just behind.

That performance – which came on the quickest ground he’s faced in his career – showed his guts and class, and it’s understandable that he’s favourite coming back to a slower surface, but whether he should be quite so short here is up for debate when Mishriff may well have won the Eclipse had he gotten a clear passage when the field bunched up late on.

The weight-for-age scale has changed slightly since in Mishriff’s favour, and his two runs since – the first when losing crucial ground at the start of the King George, and the second when being a clear-second-best behind the brilliant Baaeed at York – would suggest that he should be far closer to the favourite in the market than 9/2.

This has been the target for Luxembourg, a top class juvenile last year who ran a fine race in the 2,000 Guineas after stumbling in the early part of the race. Having missed the derby due to a muscular problem, he’s now been aimed at this and should be ready to show his best after a workmanlike comeback in the Royal Whip at the Curragh. He’s respected, but the form of the 2,000 Guineas hasn’t worked out as well as hoped and he has something to prove.

Another French three-year-old – Onesto – looks more promising. A late bloomer of sorts – he’s been transformed for the step upto middle distances (no surprise, being by Frankel out of a Sea The Stars mare), winning the Prix Greffulhe in impressive style before an unlucky fifth in the Jockey Club, when he was one of many hampered by a high draw (was drawn in 14, first and second drawn 2 and 1 respectively).

The way he closed then suggested that 12 furlongs would suit even better – which proved to be the case as he managed to pass the entire field to land the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp – but he can cope with the drop back to 10 furlongs and has a good chance of getting closer to Vadeni at a track where the draw isn’t going to play such a big part in proceedings. At 9/1 (7/1 with three places, and 5/1 without Vadeni) he is very interesting.

4.20 – Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile (Group 2) (3yo+) (1m)

Neither Jadoomi or Boundless Ocean are fully exposed and their position as market leaders is deserved in what looks a trappy renewal. If Just Beautiful is fully tuned up then she may not be far away, but none made particular betting appeal.

4.55 – Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies & Mares) (3yo+) (1m)

A fascinating clash between the brilliant Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs and the top class older horse Saffron Beach, who took the Prix Rothschild last month in excellent style (Tenebrism a well beaten second). Slight performance at the prices is for Saffron Beach, whose form now appearance to have more substance to it than Homeless Songs’ 1,000 Guineas Triumph, where for all she was impressive, she beat two horses (including third Concert Hall) that would go onto show their best over 12 furlongs (Star Girls Aalmal fourth).

Saffron Beach’s Rothschild defeat of Tenebrism (herself a previous Group 1 winner in the Prix Jean Prat) was arguably a new career best, following on from her winning reappearance under a penalty in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, and as a winner on soft ground she will hopefully be OK on the surface today.

An interesting outside shout could be Lights On, who is a dual soft ground winner who won the Bet365 Mile on her reappearance before finding the Queen Anne too much on a very quick surface afterwards.

5.30 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Petingo” Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) (1m5f)

Dutch Schultz is favourite but makes the most appeal after a strong third at the Galway Festival in a Premier Handicap. He drops back in trip here but as a winner over 1m6f on the flat (won at Gowran in October) going back a furlong shouldn’t compromise him too much and Robert Whearty’s 7lbs claims gives him a fine chance. Joesph O’Brien’s Temple of Artemis is interestingly handicapped whilst Jesse Evans, Licence, and Shajak made the shortlist.



BACK Mishriff 2 pts win in 3.45 Leopardstown at 4/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Onesto w/o Vadeni 1 pt in 3.45 Leopardstown at 5/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Saffron Beach 2 pts in 4.55 Leopardstown at 2/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Dutch Schultz 1 pt win in 5.30 Leopardstown at 6/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

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