Thursday 14 December 2017

Australia likely to be still on for Leopardstown bid

Joseph O'Brien with Australia
Joseph O'Brien with Australia
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

AUSTRALIA remains a likely participant in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown after the superlative dual Derby victor emerged as one of 37 entries left in the September 13 showpiece.

The Japanese star Just A Way, officially the highest-rated horse in the world, is one of the significant scratchings from the 10-furlong Group One after it was confirmed that he is being aimed at the Prix de l'Arc Triomphe. Cirrus Des Aigles is the other significant absentee, as the game French gelding is still recovering from an injury sustained when landing the Coronation Cup at Epsom at the start of last month.

Godolphin's Dubai World Cup hero African Story could lead the opposition against the Aidan O'Brien-trained Australia, which might yet take in the Juddmonte International at York next month. William Haggas' Mukhadram and Jim Bolger's Trading Leather, both of which are King George-bound tomorrow after finishing first and second in the Eclipse at Sandown, are also left in the €1m contest.

Michael Stoute's King George favourite Telescope is another that could play a big part in the day-one highlight of the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend.

The Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger is the feature on the second leg at the Curragh 24 hours later.

Last year's Oaks winner Talent and David Simcock's Cafe Society have both been added to the potential line-up for the mile-and-six-furlong affair, with Ballydoyle's Gold Cup winner Leading Light the standout entry among the 48 to go forward for the €300,000 race.

Before then, the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at headquarters on August 10 promises to be one of the most informative juvenile Group One races of the season.

Eddie Lynam's stylish Queen Mary winner Anthem Alexander faces a possible clash with – amongst others – John Quinn's Coventry scorer The Wow Signal and O'Brien's Anglesey Stakes victor Dick Whittington.

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