HomeSportIrish Champions Festival tips, preview and odds

Irish Champions Festival tips, preview and odds


Day 1 of Irish Champions Festival sees five Group contests at Leopardstown on Saturday before Sunday’s Curragh meeting with another five Group races.

This weekend is what it’s all come down to for many of the horses lining up in Ireland this weekend, as hundreds of thousands of Euros are up for grabs, especially in the multiple Group 1 feature meetings.

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It could be a Derby rematch this weekend between Auguste Rodin (left) and King Of Steel (right)Credit: GETTY

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Irish Champions Festival schedule

Leopardstown, Saturday September 9;

  • 2:15: KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 2) (Registered as the Golden Fleece) (2yo) 1m
  • 2:45: Dullingham Park Stakes (Group 2) (3yo+) 1m
  • 3:20: Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) (3yo+) 1m2f
  • 3:55: Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (Group 1) (3yo+) 1m
  • 4:30: Paddy Power Stakes (Group 3) (3yo+) 1m4f
  • 5:05: Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 1m5f
  • 5:40: Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Sovereign Path’ Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 7½f

Curragh, Sunday September 10;

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  • 1:50: Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 6f
  • 2.25: Moyglare ”Jewels” Blandford Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (3yo+) 1m2f
  • 2:55: Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes (Group 1) (3yo+) 5f
  • 3:25: Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies) (2yo) 7f
  • 4:00: Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Group 1) (No Geldings) (2yo) 7f
  • 4:35: Comer Group International Irish St. Leger (Group 1) (3yo+) 1m6f
  • 5:10: Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes (2yo) 6½f
  • 5:45: Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 1m2f

Irish Champions Festival betting tips

3.20: King Of Steel 9/4

The €712,500 Irish Champion Stakes is the Group 1 1m2f feature race of the day at Leopardstown on Saturday.

By far the biggest prize money on offer and it features a potential rematch from the Derby at Epsom between King Of Steel and Auguste Rodin.

Albeit across 2f less but that should favour King Of Steel, trained by Roger Varian, who came second in the Derby behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained horse.

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King Of Steel is yet to have a run in Ireland whereas Auguste Rodin has won here before though comes with risks after his worrying run at Ascot’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July.

There’s still no clear and definitive reason as to why he dropped away out of the race so much but he could be more suited to staying in Ireland this time out – with the plane ride a potential reason he didn’t enjoy his Ascot trip.

Even King Of Steel also has drawbacks having placed just third in the same meeting, nearly five lengths behind Hukum.

The good news for these horses is that none of them return – neither have won over the exact distance before having only tried a mile and 1m4f before, but it should suit King Of Steel more who has recorded a faster pace than the Deep Impact colt.

4.30: Valiant King 16/1

Later on we have the Paddy Power Stakes, a Group 3 contest which looks promising for either Layfayette or Al Aasy, who both won well last time out. Though, they’re giving plenty of weight away to the youngsters of the field.

Adelaide River, by Australia, trained by O’Brien placed just behind Auguste Rodin in the Irish Derby and then second again at Longchamp’s Grand Prix de Paris so will be of huge interest to see how he does against the older runners.

William Haggas’ horses are in fine form but this looks like a tougher task than Al Aasy’s latest Group 3 win.

It looks as though it could open up for improvement from another three-year-old in the field, Valiant King.

Who placed second behind Vauban last time out and Desert Hero at Royal Ascot.

There looks to be a lot of ability there over this kind of distance and looks a huge price for that potential.

2.55, Flying Five Stakes: Highfield Princess 6/4

Jason Hart riding Highfield Princess win The Buckingham Palace Stakes on Day Three of the Royal Ascot Meeting in 2021

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Jason Hart riding Highfield Princess win The Buckingham Palace Stakes on Day Three of the Royal Ascot Meeting in 2021Credit: GETTY

This looks to be a rematch of the Nunthorpe from York’s Ebor Festival last month with Highfield Princess favourite again and not far behind is Bradsell.

Live In The Dream was a huge winner for connections in that race as he stormed home as the 28/1 surprise but it looks all down to those two sprinters.

Highfield Princess remains as consistent as ever and often finds more than Bradsell and has even won here before which just ticks all the boxes.

All odds correct at time of writing

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