Thursday 19 July 2018

Cirrus in Irish Champion frame

Cirrus Des Aigles
Cirrus Des Aigles

Cirrus Des Aigles could have a first run in Ireland next month ahead of his intended outing in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Corine Barande-Barbe's decorated nine-year-old is close to a return from injury, with the Group One Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12 identified as a comeback date.

Should all go to plan, Cirrus Des Aigles will then gear up for the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 17 - a race he has contested for the last four seasons, winning once in 2011.

Barande-Barbe said: "Cirrus Des Aigles is recovering well from his injury and is on schedule to run in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown as a prep race for the Champion Stakes at Ascot, with the Prix Dollar a possibility in between the two."

The Champion Stakes at Ascot has attracted 46 entries, including Golden Horn, Postponed, Time Test, The Grey Gatsby and Gleneagles.

The latter also holds an entry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which has lured 36 possible contenders, including French ace Solow.

Trainer Freddy Head, who won the race 12 months ago with Charm Spirit, said: "Solow is very well and he has come out of last week's victory in the Sussex Stakes looking beautiful.

"The plan is to wait for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes now - it will not matter if it rains in October."

The Qipco British Champions Sprint could feature two former winners - Gordon Lord Byron (2014) and Maarek (2012) - while sprint specialist Eddie Lynam has entered Anthem Alexander, Fort Del Oro and Gathering Power.

Trainer Charlie Hills holds the key to the home challenge, with stable star Muhaarar potentially joined by Magical Memory, Strath Burn and Cotai Glory.

The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup contains 50 entries, including last year's winner Forgotten Rules and reigning Ascot Gold Cup hero Trip To Paris.

Clever Cookie is also in the hat for Peter Niven, who said: " This year we will go with a fresh horse and hopefully go with a big chance."

The Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes could see last season's winner Madame Chiang, trained by David Simcock, attempt to do the double as she features amongst 52 entries.

A whopping £4.1million in prize-money will this autumn be up for grabs on Qipco British Champions Day.

Press Association

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