Leopardstown preview: Irish Champion Stakes (17.45)
Gleneagles can make his first try at 1m 2f a winning one by landing a stellar renewal of the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (17.45).
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt is a five-time Group 1 winner, albeit disqualified in one of those when landing the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadare at Longchamp as a juvenile, and put in a stunning display on his seasonal reappearance when landing the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
After racing in touch on the stands side, Gleneagles made smooth headway two from home to take up the running at the furlong marker and quicken clear to beat Terrotories by 2 1/4 lengths.
The turn of foot shown by Gleneagles marked him out as something very special, and the beautifully bred son of Galileo followed up with success in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh.
Three-year-old Gleneagles didn’t get the clearest of passages, but again showed a smart turn of foot to mow down the leaders and get up and score by 3/4 of a length.
Gleneagles then had little difficulty landing the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when last seen in action, travelling powerfully throughout an scooting clear in impressive fashion a furlong from home to win easily by 2 1/2 lengths.
Connections have now decided to gamble and step Gleneagles up to 1m 2f for the first time, but he is bred to get the trip and I can’t see it being a problem.
Although pulled-out of his last two planned engagements due to soft ground, the going is currently in his favour and if remaining so Gleneagles can make his potent turn of foot tell to land the spoils in the hands of Joseph O’Brien.
Golden Horn lost his unbeaten record when runner-up to rank outsider Arabian Queen in the Group 1 Juddmonte Stakes at York, but can bounce back and looks a formidable opponent.
The John Gosden trained colt put in a scintillating performance when winning the Investec Derby at Epsom by 3 1/2 lengths, before going on to land the the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in impressive fashion when taking on older horses for the first time.
That win earned Golden Horn an official rating of 130, the same as what Frankel had at the same stage of his career, and the son of Cape Cross is officially rated 8lb superior to Gleneagles.
Another major player is the Dermot Weld trained Free Eagle.
The four-year-old was having only the fifth start of his career when beating The Grey Gatsby by a short-head in the Group 1 Princes Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot when last seen in action.
It was a terrific performance after 242 days on the sidelines, and Free Eagle has always been held in the highest regard and remains open to further improvement.
The son of High Chaparral has also been saved for this, and Weld is the master at getting horses spot on for the big day.