Ghaiyyath on course for Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend


The main opposition to Ghaiyyath is expected to come from the horses he beat into second and third place respectively at York, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Magical, winner of the Irish Champion Stakes last year, and John Gosden’s Lord North.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020
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“We are delighted with the depth and breadth of entries across the weekend, today’s final entries and forfeits reveal what will be a thrilling weekend of top class action. The supporting races are equally as strong and the weekend is shaping up to become a world-class sporting event.”

A typically strong overseas and home-trained contingent are set to contest the two Group 1 races on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Ghaiyyath is on course for a fourth consecutive Group 1 success in the Irish Champion Stakes on the opening day of the meeting at Leopardstown on Saturday.

His trainer, Charlie Appleby, revealed at lunchtime on Tuesday, “Ghaiyyath will work tomorrow morning, we will have a final discussion then and if everyone is happy our intention is to fly to Dublin on Saturday morning.”

Godolphin's superstar became the highest-rated horse in the world when adding the Juddmonte International at York last month to earlier top-level wins in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket and Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse.

The main opposition to Ghaiyyath is expected to come from the horses he beat into second and third place respectively at York, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Magical, winner of the Irish Champion Stakes last year, and John Gosden’s Lord North.

Jean-Claude Rouget won the Irish Champion Stakes with Almanzor in 2016 and he will run last year’s French Derby winner Sottsass, a winner again at Chantilly in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in June while Barney Roy could accompany stable companion Ghaiyyath on the trip to Dublin.  

In all, 13 horses have stood their ground for the Irish Champion Stakes with Anthony Van Dyck, Japan, Magic Wand, Vatican City and Armory still in the race for Aidan O'Brien, Jessica Harrington has Leo De Fury and Joseph O'Brien could yet call upon Buckhurst and Degraves.  

The Donnacha O'Brien-trained Fancy Blue and Aidan O'Brien’s Peaceful head an entry of 13 for the Group 1 Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes. There was little between the pair in the French Oaks at Chantilly last time. Aidan O'Brien has four horses remaining in the race with Magic Wand, Love Locket and So Wonderful in with a chance of joining his Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine.

Joseph O'Brien has left A New Dawn, Wilds Dreams and New York Girl with both Champers Elysees and Know It All in the mix for Johnny Murtagh. Jessica Harrington has both Albigna and Valeria Messalina with the Fozzy Stack-trained Lady Wannabe completing the latest line up ahead of Thursday’s declaration stage.

Tim Husbands, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “We are delighted with the depth and breadth of entries across the weekend, today’s final entries and forfeits reveal what will be a thrilling weekend of top class action. The supporting races are equally as strong and the weekend is shaping up to become a world-class sporting event.”

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