IRISH Champions Weekend was a huge success last year and we just have to hope that the weather doesn’t spoil it this time around. The highlight of the event, the Irish Champion Stakes (5.45pm), has been brought forward by 65 minutes as there is very heavy rain forecast tomorrow evening.
If all eight runners stand their ground, this will be the race of the season. But, at this stage, it’s a very hard race to bet confidently.
Golden Horn, who suffered such a shock defeat in the Juddmonte International last time, is back to set the record straight and John Gosden will be praying the rain doesn’t arrive.
He relishes a sound surface and his participation, as well as that of 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles, will be in serious doubt if the ground gets softer than good.
Last year’s winner The Grey Gatsby and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes hero Free Eagle are two others that would also like to hear their hooves rattle.
Cirrus Des Aigles could be interesting if it gets really soft, but I just can’t ignore the claims of FOUND who looks a powerful second string for Ballydoyle at 12/1 with Betway.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained filly stepped up to 10 furlongs at the Curragh last time, winning impressively. She loves cut in the ground and has been improving as the season has gone on.
With fillies having won two of the last three renewals, Found simply looks the value at the prices.
Moving onto Sunday’s card at the Curragh and I’ll be backing Tommy Stack’s GREAT MINDS in the Flying Five Stakes (3.05pm).
Although he has plenty to find on ratings, the son of Bahamian Bounty is a different animal when the going is testing.
Given a break since a below par effort in Haydock’s Temple Stakes back in May, he looks to have Maarek to beat.
FOUND e/w 5.45pm Leopardstown (tomorrow)
GREAT MINDS e/w 3.05pm Curragh (Sunday)