Irish Champion Stakes Preview – Saturday 15th September

Last updated: September 14, 2018 by Leon Marshal

The feature race in Ireland this Saturday is the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown at 6.35.

This is one of the most prestigious ten furlong races of the season and has been won by many champion racehorses in the past. Epsom Derby winners’ Dr Devious (1992), High Chaparral (2003), New Approach (2008), Sea The Stars (2009) and Golden Horn (2015) were all successful in this race. Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer with seven victories, his most recent being So You Think in 2011. Other notable winners include Triptych (1987), Swain (1998), Giant’s Causeway (2000) and Dylan Thomas (2006 and 2007).

The Irish Champion Stakes

Roaring Lion hot favourite at Leopardstown

John Gosden will bid for a third victory in the past six seasons with red-hot favourite Roaring Lion. The grey did not quite last home when third in the Derby but has been a revelation since reverting to ten furlongs. He beat Saxon Warrior by a neck in the Eclipse at Sandown before trouncing a high class field in the International Stakes at York.

Oisin Murphy was able to settle him just off the pace before sweeping through to beat Poet’s Word by three and a quarter lengths. The runner-up may have finished a bit closer with a smoother passage through the race but Roaring Lion was an impressive winner. The going is currently good to firm at Leopardstown which suits the colt perfectly.

Saxon Warrior has failed to live up to the hype following his 2000 Guineas victory at Newmarket. He was fourth at Epsom and third in the Irish Derby at the Curragh. He got close to Roaring Lion at Sandown but finished five lengths adrift at York. O’Brien reported that the horse had suffered a set-back prior to that race and is expecting a much better performance on Saturday.

Study Of Man makes the trip from France

With four of the eight entries, it will be interesting to see if Aidan O’Brien’s team can run the finish out of Roaring Lion. Rhododendron got up in the last stride to win the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May. The filly has lost her way completely since, most recently being eased to a trot after losing her footing at Deauville. She was wearing blinkers for the first time that day after finishing last in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Deauville is admirably tough and consistent but still has plenty to do on the form book. He was beaten a nose by Beautiful Morning in a Group 3 at the Curragh last time and was only fifth in the Lockinge. Athena won the Belmont Oaks but could only manage seventh in a messy race for the Beverly D Stakes next time.

French Derby winner Study Of Man is an interesting runner. The going was soft when he won at Chantilly, beating Patascoy by half a length. That form was reversed next time when both were beaten by Knight To Behold at Deauville. Verbal Dexterity made his belated seasonal debut at the Curragh last month and finished behind Beautiful Morning and Deauville. That was only his fifth career start and he is entitled to improve.

A row of horses at Leopardstown

Betting Tips

Roaring Lion @4-5 Betfred

The Irish Champion Stakes is due off at 6.35 at Leopardstown on Saturday 15th September and will be screened live on RTE2 and AtTheRaces.