Classic Winners Harzand, Minding Among Nine G1 Winners Set For Irish Champion Stakes

by | 09.09.2016 | 8:40am
Harzand (Pat Smullen) beats Idaho (Ryan Moore) in the Irish Derby.

A stellar field of 13 contestants, led by classic winners Harzand and Minding are set to line up in the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown Saturday. At stake is an automatic berth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Turf, since the race is part of the 'Win and You're In' series sponsored by the Breeders' Cup.

Trainer Dermot Weld will saddle Investec and Irish Derby champion Harzand, who runs in the colors of owner-breeder the Aga Khan. Harzand is top sire Sea the Stars, who won this race in 2009.

Aidan O'Brien will saddle four runners, led by the talented Minding, winner of this year's Investec Oaks and English One Thousand Guineas. Minding, who has won four out of five starts this year – all at the Group 1 level – will be piloted by Ryan Moore. Seamie Heffernan will be aboard 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Found; Colm O'Donoghue will ride multiple Group 1 winner Highland Reel, while the up-and-coming Donnacha O'Brien will ride Sir Isaac Newton.

French Derby winner Almanzor is one of two French raiders, along with the Andre Fabre-trained New Bay.

Others set to line up are Prince of Wales's Stakes winner My Dream Boat, 2014 Irish Champion winner The Grey Gatsby and Godolphin's Coral-Eclipse hero Hawkbill.

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