Big guns wait on the weather ahead of Irish Champion Stakes
The weather will determine the final field for Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Roger Charlton has left Al Kazeem in the race following forecasts of up to 20mm of rain from Friday night through to Saturday morning.
Al Kazeem’s winning run came to an end in York’s International Stakes when finishing third behind Declaration Of War and Trading Leather. Jockey James Doyle was hard at work a long way from home and connections were quick to blame the fast ground for his defeat.
Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden will not be joining Charlton in a rain dance as their respective runners favour the prevailing good to firm ground. This is particularly true of Gosden’s The Fugue who won the Yorkshire Oaks in some style but will be withdrawn if the going changes dramatically.
Jim Bolger has no such fears regarding Trading Leather who has been running well all season on a variety of surfaces. The Irish Derby winner was well beaten by leading Arc hope Novellist in the King George at Ascot but ran a fine race at York.
O’Brien will also run last season’s Racing Post Trophy winner Kingsbarns with Seamie Heffernan taking the ride. The Galileo colt was favourite for the Derby through the winter and makes his long awaited seasonal debut after a training setback.
2011 Dewhurst Stakes winner Parish Hall is another who has suffered his fair share of injuries with only two subsequent racecourse appearances. He has not raced since finishing third to Camelot at the Curragh in May.
Dermot Weld’s Princess Highway is another who would definitely like some give in the ground. Her best performance came in good to soft ground in the Ribblesdale last season when she slammed The Fugue by six lengths.
The field is completed by 100-1 outsider Euphrasia who won a Group 3 at Naas in May but was well beaten in a listed race at Cork on her last outing.