A trio of “Win and You're In” Challenge races are on tap Saturday at Leopardstown in Dublin, with the $1.493 million QIPCO Irish Champion and the presence of heavy favorite Qatar Racing's Roaring Lion serving as the main attraction. Run at 1 ¼ miles, the Irish Champion will offer an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf, a race Roaring Lion qualified for when he won York's Juddmonte International (GI) August 22 for trainer John Gosden. The 3-year-old son of Kitten's Joy rates as Europe's best male turf horse off successive wins in Sandown's Coral-Eclipse (GI) in July and the Juddmonte International and will bring a 6-for-10 lifetime mark to the Irish Champion, in which he's trading as a stiff 5-4 favorite among European punters.
The Coolmore conglomerate of Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Saxon Warrior (JPN) will have another crack at Roaring Lion after running second and fourth to him, respectively, at Sandown and York. The 3-year-old son of Deep Impact (JPN) won the 2000 Guineas (GI) at Newmarket in May for trainer Aidan O'Brien and is 4-for-8 lifetime. Flaxman Stable Ireland's homebred Study of Man (IRE) is also expected for trainer Pasqual Bary and is garnering a bit of support off his French Derby (GI) win at Chantilly in June. Benbatl (GB), Cliffs of Moher (IRE), Crystal Ocean (GB), Lancaster Bomber and Magic Wand (IRE) could also run in the “Win and You're In” QIPCO Irish Champion.
The $418,142 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (GI), run at 1-mile, will award an automatic starting berth into the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and, if Roaring Lion is Europe's best male turf horse, then the Niarchos Family's homebred Alpha Centauri (IRE) is clearly their best filly, if not best horse overall, as she's blitzed her competition en route to a quarter of consecutive group I wins for trainer Jessica Harrington. The 3-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman (IRE) came to prominence with a win in the Irish 1,000 Guineas (GI) at The Curragh in May then rattled off the Coronation at Royal Ascot in June, Falmouth at Newmarket in July and “Win and You're In” Prix du Haras de-Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville August 12 to earn an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Mile. Alpha Centauri is 6-for-9 lifetime and is as low as 2-5 among the European punters.
The imposing shadow that Alpha Centauri casts could keep the field for the Matron at a minimum, with John Dance's LAURENS (FR), who won the Prix Saint-Alary (GI) at Longchamp in May and French Oaks (GI) at Chantilly in June serving as the perceived main danger for trainer Karl Burke. Coolmore could start group winners Clemmie (IRE), Magical (IRE), and Rhododendron (IRE) while group winner Veracious is also possible for the “Win and You're In” Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron.
The “Win and You're In” $179,204 KPMG Champions Juvenile (GII), run at 1-mile, will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and is expected to draw overflow field with several up-and-coming 2-year-olds looking to announce their presence on the international scene. Godolphin's Dark Vision (IRE) is undefeated in three starts for trainer Mark Johnston and impressed winning the Vintage (GII) at Glorious Goodwood July 31. The son of Dream Ahead has yet to be tested in any of his runs and could go favored over a potential field of 18 that is long on promise.
Coolmore and O'Brien could run as many as eight, including Christmas (IRE), who was second to his highly touted stablemate Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) in The Curragh's August 26 Futurity (GII), as well as Mount Everest (IRE), a son of 2003 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Six Perfections (FR) who broke his maiden at The Curragh, as did Sydney Opera House (GB). The Aga Khan has homebreds Masaff (IRE) won on debut locally June 21 and Zuenoon (IRE), who is 2-for-3, and the Dermot Weld-trained pair could be ready for the rise in class.
The “Win and You're In” action in Ireland moves to The Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare Sunday as the $418,142 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (GI) and $418,142 Moyglare Stud (GI) will award automatic starting berths into the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, respectively.
Global Racing Club and Mrs. E. Burke's Havana Grey (GB) and Stephen Louch's Caspian Prince (IRE), the 1-2 finishers in the Group 2, 5-furlong Sapphire Stakes at The Curragh on June 22 lead the way. Finsbury Square (IRE), Hit The Bid (AUS), Sioux Nation, Speak In Colours (GB) are also attracting lukewarm support for the “Win and You're In” Derrinstown Stud Flying Five.
The Moyglare, run at seven furlongs, figures to draw a crowd, with several from Coolmore and trainer Aidan O'Brien expected, as he could choose from Angelic Light, Banduic Ellie, Beyond Reason, Coral Beach, Fairyland, Fantasy, Hermosa, Just Wonderful and Peach Tree.
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