International runners have dominated the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes
since 2012 and a strong overseas entry, headed by Masar and Phoenix Of Spain,
is sure to test the home brigade once again this year.
Aidan O'Brien’s So You think was the last Irish-trained winner in 2011 and the
race is the feature on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at
Leopardstown on Saturday, September 14.
Masar, last year’s Epsom Derby hero, has been entered by trainer Charlie
Appleby and heads the 24 British-trained entries that also includes last
weekend’s Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas first and second, Phoenix Of Spain
and Too Darn Hot, trained by Charlie Hills and John Gosden respectively. The
William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class, successful on Irish soil in the Oaks at
the Curragh last season adds to the cross-channel entry as does Telecaster, the
Hughie Morrison-trained winner of this year’s Dante Stakes at York and the
leading English fancy for Saturday’s Epsom Derby.
Deirdre, trained in Japan by Mitsuru Hashida, is a Group 1 winner in her native
land and was successful in the Group 2 Ireland Trophy in Tokyo last October.
She has clocked up plenty of air miles and her best overseas run came when she
finished runner-up in the Longines Hong Kong Cup in December.
The French entry is made up of four horses and includes the recent French 2,000
Guineas winner Persian King, trained by Andre Fabre who has also put Waldgeist,
the recent Prix Ganay winner, in the race. Jean-Claude Rouget, winner of the
QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes with Almanzor in 2016, has entered Sottsass while
Intellogent could run for trainer Fabrice Chappet.
Dual Guineas winner Hermosa is among an entry of 17 for Aidan O'Brien, the last
Irish trainer to win the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. A typically strong
Ballydoyle team also features another top filly in Magical, the QIPCO 2,000
Guineas winner Magna Grecia and leading Epsom Derby hopes Sir Dragonet, Broome
and Anthony Van Dyck. The Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmoon is another notable
The Comer Group International Irish St Leger is one of four Group 1 races and tops the card
at the Curragh on Sunday, September 15 and its initial entry numbers 75, an
increase of 20 on last year. Stradivarius, the outstanding stayer of the day,
heads the 29 British-trained possibles for trainer John Gosden. The first three
home in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Cross Counter, Marmelo and Prince Of Arran
are also in the race as is last season’s Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee,
already a winner on two occasions this season.
No one has landed the Comer Group International Irish St Leger more than Dermot Weld and the
seven-time winner has Rakan and Tankerville among his seven entries. The 2018
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Latrobe is on Joseph O'Brien’s team of three
while True Self is among a Willie Mullins-trained entry of four.
Aidan O'Brien is a five-time winner of the race and he has made 19 entries,
including last year’s all-the-way hero Flag Of Honour, Capri, Sir Dragonet and
Broome. Race sponsor Luke Comer has entered his recent Group 2 Comer Group
International 48th Oleander-Rennen winner Raa Atoll. Moonshiner and Adler,
third and fourth in that race have been entered by trainers Jean-Pierre
Carvalho and Markus Klug respectively.
Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “The QIPCO Irish Champion
Stakes is always one of the top races each year and judging by entries, this
year will be another cracker. The 2019 entries look incredibly strong with the
current Irish, English and French 2,000 Guineas winners entered and it is great
to see the continued international dimension to the race, with horses from
Ireland, England, France and Japan included.”
Evan Arkwright, Racing Manager of the Curragh Racecourse commented: “The
quality of entries for the Comer Group International Irish St Leger will help
further develop the overall ambition of the weekend to be associated with the
very best horses in Europe. The enhancement to our race programme for stayers’
through the generous sponsorship of Comer Group International has ensured we
are now in a very strong position to attract the very best stayers to the
CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO ENTRIES FOR THE QIPCO IRISH CHAMPION STAKES
CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO ENTRIES FOR THE COMER GROUP IRISH ST LEGER