Wednesday 21 March 2018

Harzand and Minding face off in cracking Irish Champion Stakes


Dual Derby winner Harzand and brilliant filly Minding star in a final field of 13 runners for the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Harzand provided trainer Dermot Weld with his first victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom in early June and followed up three weeks later in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Weld also saddles likely pacemaker Ebediyin, but his Champion Stakes and Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Fascinating Rock is a notable absentee.

Minding has won four of her five starts at Group One level this season, including Classic triumphs in the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks at Epsom.

Aidan O'Brien's filly, the mount of Ryan Moore, is pitched in against colts for the first time in this mouthwatering contest.

The master of Ballydoyle has a formidable hand, with King George hero Highland Reel (Colm O'Donoghue), top-class filly Found (Seamie Heffernan) and Sir Isaac Newton (Donnacha O'Brien) also in contention.

Jean-Claude Rouget's French Derby winner Almanzor is one of two Gallic raiders along with the Andre Fabre-trained New Bay.

The three British-trained runners are Clive Cox's Prince of Wales's Stakes winner My Dream Boat, Kevin Ryan's 2014 Irish Champion victor The Grey Gatsby and Godolphin's Coral-Eclipse hero Hawkbill, trained by Charlie Appleby.

Ken Condon's Success Days and Moonlight Magic from Jim Bolger's stable complete the stellar line-up.

Press Association

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