International stars head to Irish Champions Weekend
An early look at the headline entries for Irish Champions Weekend in September, with a host of international stars
A Japanese contender, the best of the current Classic generation and a host of top-class older horses have been entered for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Saturday, 11 September.
The five-year-old Mozu Bello, trained by Naoyuki Morita, recently finished runner-up in the Grade 1 Osaka Hai at Hanshin and could become the second horse trained in Japan to run in the Leopardstown highlight, two years after Deirdre’s gallant fourth in the race.
The winners of this year’s Newmarket, French and Irish 2,000 Guineas head the home challenge. Jim Bolger has entered both Poetic Flare and Mac Swiney, while St Mark’s Basilica features among an incredibly strong entry from Aidan O’Brien.
O’Brien also has his Newmarket 1,000 Guineas winner Mother Earth and his Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Empress Josephine and narrow runner-up Joan Of Arc in the race.
Ballydoyle’s leading Epsom Derby hopes Bolshoi Ballet and High Definition are in the race as are the top Oaks contenders Santa Barbara and Snowfall. A host of older superstars also feature among O’Brien’s initial entry, namely Love, Japan, Armory, Broome and Mogul.
Helvic Dream became Noel Meade’s first Group 1 winner when edging out Broome to win the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last Sunday and he’s among the 54 entries as are Dermot Weld’s star mares Tarnawa and Search For A Song, with Lucky Vega and Alpine Star among a Jessica Harrington-trained quartet.
A terrific British entry, numbering 15 horses, is headed by the outstanding John and Thady Gosden-trained Palace Pier, currently the world’s highest-rated racehorse. The father and son team have also entered the well-travelled Mishriff and Lord North while Ed Dunlop’s Derby hope John Leeper, William Haggis’ four-time Group 1 winner Addeybb and David Menuisier’s dual Group 1 heroine Wonderful Tonight are also part of a formidable team from across the Irish Sea.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment is among a massive entry of 77 horses for the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday, 12 September.
Also included in the 14 entries made by his trainer Joseph O’Brien are the ever-improving Baron Samedi, the stable’s new recruits Cormorant, Mythical and Dawn Patrol, and Master Of Reality.
No trainer has a better record in the race than nine-time winner Dermot Weld and he has entered the Moyglare Stud Farm-owned Search For A Song, winner of the race for the past two years, and Falcon Eight, the brilliant recent winner of the Chester Cup.
There are 19 British-trained entries for the race, topped by the 2019 Doncaster St Leger hero Logician, which is trained by John and Thady Gosden, last year’s Comer Group International Irish St Leger runner-up Fujaira Prince, Third Realm and Believe In Love, all trained by Roger Varian and the exciting Subjectivist, one of four in the race for Mark Johnston.
Pyledriver, third in last season’s Doncaster St Leger has been entered by William Muir and Chris Grassick, while the Ralph Beckett-trained Albaflora, the William Haggas-trained Ilaraab, the Martyn Meade-trained Lone Eagle and Alan King’s Trueshan are all certainly worthy of their place in the final Classic of the season.
The first three horses home in the Comer Group International 50th Oleander-Rennen at Hoppegarten have also been entered. The Andreas Suborics-trained Rip Van Lips won the Group 2 event earlier this month, beating Roland Dzubasz’s Memphis and Brokeback Mountain which is trained in France by Yann Barberot. A second French-trained entry is the André Fabre’s Tides Of War. Raa Atoll, winner of the Hoppegarten race in 2019, is one of four entries for sponsor Luke Comer.