Johnny Murtagh reveals where Champers Elysees will race next after debut Group 1 victory at Leopardstown

Champers Elysees gave Johnny Murtagh his first Group 1 win



Johnny Murtagh believes Champers Elysees was full value for her win in the Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, handing the former jockey his first Group 1 win as a trainer.

The three-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks, winning a Curragh handicap on her debut before success in a Listed heat at the Galway Festival followed by a Group 3 win at Gowran Park less than a fortnight ago.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Murtagh suggests the Sun Chariot at Newmarket or a trip to the USA could beckon for Champers Elysees following her latest triumph.

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“Everybody got a great kick out of the weekend, with our stable winning a Group 1 with Champers Elysees on Saturday and to finish it off with Sonnyboyliston on Sunday, it’s something that we will never forget,” said Murtagh. “It was a brilliant two days for our stable.

“Champers Elysees has been a filly on the improve, and we’ve always liked her. She always showed a nice bit of ability.

“I suppose this year after the handicap we realised she’s very nice, but she was nearly sold twice so we wouldn’t be talking about her if she had passed the veterinary inspections.

“Since Galway, I did think that this filly has got something. They don’t win at Galway by seven lengths if they don’t have some amount of ability.

“And the way she trained going into the Group 3 race, the Fairy Bridge Stakes, she improved a lot. She never missed a day and her work was very consistent.

“If you gave me Champers Elysees finishing in the first three in the Matron, with the standard the race was and the calibre of horses – a Guineas winner, a French Oaks winner, the best two-year-old filly in Ireland – I would have probably taken it.

“But I think it was a very good performance and watching it back again, there was no fluke about it. I just love the way she quickened and, more importantly, the way she pulled up.

“She’s got two races to look at now. There’s the Sun Chariot at Newmarket for fillies only over a mile or there’s the Breeder’s Cup mile at Keeneland. I think a mile around Keeneland will suit her really well as she’s got a good turn of foot.

“But the plan had always been The Matron. I keep telling the owners that and they always say ‘Well you nearly sold her twice, Johnny, so when did this plan come in!?’.

“So I say since winning the Group 3 in Gowran the other day, that has been the plan!

“We’ll have to sit down and have a chat, but they’re just loving the moment.

“With a syndicate of owners, you don’t expect to get a horse like this. You don’t expect to win Group 1s, so when it happens… [you have to make the most of it].

“I met a few of the guys after and they were saying ‘Johnny, this is the best day of my life’.

“I bought the trophy back in and it was like the World Cup had just come home and that’s what gave me as much of a kick as Champers Elysees going past the line.

“It was great to see, and that’s the magic that can happen in this racing game.

“It’s not going to happen often, but at least there’s a chance it can happen.”

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