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Which of the four will score in the Irish Champion Stakes? Sure, it might be the smallest field to tackle the race in its current form but with three Group 1 winners it’s shaping up to be a blockbuster.
St Mark’s Basilica is seeking a fifth top-level victory and heads Paddy Power’s betting market from Breeders’ Cup champ Tarnawa. 2000 Guineas hero Poetic Flare steps up in trip to 1m 2f for the first time, while Patrick Sarsfield hasn’t scored since July 2020 and is the outsider.
As the feature race on part one of the Irish Champions Weekend, a prize pot to match the prestige is up for grabs, with €570,000 going to the first past the post from a €1m fund.
Who will succeed Magical as the Irish Champion Stakes winner? We’ll find out a little after 2.45pm but if you’re looking for a little punting inspiration then check out the top tips and best bets from Paddy’s pals below.
Timeform: “ST MARK’S BASILICA coped very well with a small-field scenario when an impressive winner of the Eclipse and can land a fifth Group 1 success in a row. The Arc is presumably the main target for Tarnawa so it could be that the chief threat comes from leading miler Poetic Flare, whose pedigree provides plenty of hope that he’ll be just as good over this trip.”
Paddy Power: “It’s very rare to get a horse that can win a Group 1 on firm (Breeders Cup Turf), heavy (Prix de l’Opera) and good (Prix Vermaille) ground – and TARNAWA has done just that. She is special and there was nothing wrong with her preparation for this.”
Mick Fitzgerald: “The only problem you have is where is the pace going to come from? None of them are confirmed front runners, so that could be the only issue here. With plenty of rain around in Dublin that sways things in favour of ST MARK’S BASILICA. Had the ground been quicker, I would’ve plumped for Poetic Flare.”
Ruby Walsh: “ST MARK’S BASILICA is the best horse in this race over 10f, there’s no doubt about it.If Ryan Moore bolts out on St Marks Basilica and stays in front, he’s the one for me. Ryan just needs to keep it simple.”
Jason Weaver: “ST MARK’S BASILICA should have too many gears for these from the quarter mile pole and will be able to continue what has been a fantastic run so far to rack up a five-timer. All of those will have been in Group 1 company too, he really has it all!”
Matt Chapman: “Tarnawa would be the obvious one with her stamina to go from the front – Pat Smullen would have loved that back in the day – but she has shown no inkling to lead. I’ll stick with Eclipse winner ST MARK’S BASILICA. But it will be a race of nerve and finesse.”
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