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Weekend looking Champion


Balansiya. Pic: Patrick McCann 03.11.2013

Balansiya. Pic: Patrick McCann 03.11.2013

Balansiya. Pic: Patrick McCann 03.11.2013

POTENTIAL British raiders Integral and Rizeena are among 38 fillies and mares in contention for the Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday September 13.

The €300,000 Group One contest takes places on the first day of the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend and a strong field looks in prospect.

The Michael Stoute-trained Integral claimed Group One glory in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last month and could be set for a fascinating rematch with Clive Brittain's runner-up Rizeena, who won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Johnny Murtagh had a great record in the race as a jockey, winning it on Timarida, Soviet Song and Lillie Langtry and his Purr Along is the leading Irish-trained possible.

Dermot Weld's Balansiya is lightly raced and is an interesting entry while Darley Irish Oaks runner-up Tapestry heads the Aidan O'Brien challenge.

The Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes has attracted an impressive entry of 40 and the Dermot Weld-trained Mustajeeb, the Jersey Stakes winner at Royal Ascot, looks a strong contender.


The well-travelled Gordon Lord Byron, Ansgar, Darwin and Parish Hall are others that catch the eye, along with Richard Hannon's Toormore.

The initial entries for the Group Three KPMG Enterprise Stakes include the unbeaten Letro, trained in Germany by Waldemar Hickst.

The home team looks particularly strong and the inclusion of Free Eagle, trained by Weld, is of particular interest. Weld has also put Fascinating Rock in the race.

The Curragh takes centre stage the follow day and the entries for the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes remain strong.

Beach Belle, Lucida and Words are among 52 fillies in the Moyglare, with the Roger Varian-trained Cursory Glance one of the more interesting British contenders.

Aidan O'Brien's Goodwood scorer Highland Reel is in contention for the National Stakes, along with Jim Bolger's Hall Of Fame and Kevin Ryan's Flaming Spear.

Sole Power is the stand out entry in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, while the Blandford Stakes could see the return to action of last season's Darley Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, now trained by O'Brien.

Leopardstown chief executive Pat Keogh said: "The quality of entries reflects the standing that these races have and it is all looking good for the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend."

Paul Hensey, general manager of the Curragh, added: "There is huge anticipation and excitement building for Irish Champions Weekend.


"We are delighted with the high-class entries for our major races and they highlight the added prestige of being part of such a great event.

"The significant increases in prize-money has ensured that many of the world's top trainers and owners are fully supportive of the weekend."