*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
The first two home in the Epsom Derby are set to battle it out once again in the Irish Champion Stakes, the feature on the first day of this weekend’s Irish Champions Festival.
Auguste Rodin narrowly denied King Of Steel in the Classic at Epsom before flopping in the King George VI as his rival finished a creditable third over 12 furlongs at Ascot.
The Irish Champion Stakes represents a drop in trip for the market principals, who are joined by fellow three-year-olds Al Riffa and Sprewell, while Luxembourg bids to retain his title.
Onesto finished half a length behind Luxembourg in last year’s renewal and the French raider makes the trip once again, with Frankie Dettori booked to ride.
Alflaila has been supplemented by Shadwell following a successful winning return in July’s York Stakes, Nashwa is quickly turned out from last month’s second place in the Juddmonte International, while Ballydoyle third string Point Lonsdale completes the field for Saturday’s 15:20.
The latest Irish Champion Stakes odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
Irish Champion Stakes tips
Timeform: A highly competitive renewal but the one who looks to have been underestimated in the market is NASHWA, who split a pair of high-class performers in the Juddmonte International at York last month. The drop back to 10f should be ideal for King of Steel given how he shaped in the Derby/King George so he has obvious claims, while dual-Derby winner Auguste Rodin has proved he can bounce back from a poor run.
Irish Champion Stakes runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the Irish Champion Stakes 2023.
Trainer: Owen Burrows Jockey: Jim Crowley Age: 4 Weight: 9st 9lbs Draw: 7
Hold-up performer who ended 2022 firmly on the up, supplementing his Group 3 Strensall Stakes win at York with a high-class effort in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket (9f). Defied an absence when reeling in My Prospero in Group 2 at York 6 weeks ago and well worth a shot at this level.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Seamie Heffernan Age: 4 Weight: 9st 9lbs Draw: 4
All the better for comeback when recording a third success at the top level (one in each season to date) in Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, seen to good effect from front. Not at that level both starts since, though excuses in King George last time. Beat Onesto by ½ length in this last year.
Trainer: Fabrice Chappet Jockey: Frankie Dettori Age: 4 Weight: 9st 9lbs Draw: 3
High-class form at 3 yrs, winning Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp prior to chasing home Luxembourg in this 12 months ago. Shaped well over an inadequate trip when fourth in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on belated reappearance and another big run looks on the cards.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Dylan Browne McMonagle Age: 4 Weight: 9st 9lbs Draw: 8
Low-mileage 4-y-o who resumed better than ever this spring with successes in 10f Alleged Stakes at the Curragh and Huxley Stakes at Chester. However, limitations exposed back at this level since (used as a pacemaker in King George last time).
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Hollie Doyle Age: 4 Weight: 9st 6lbs Draw: 6
Excellent record in the top fillies/mares’ races, landing a third Group 1 in the Falmouth at Newmarket impressively. Excuses when going for a second Nassau next time before excellent second taking on males for first time in Juddmonte at York. Needs considering.
Trainer: Joseph Patrick O’Brien Jockey: Christophe Soumillon Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 9
Won 6-runner National Stakes (9/1) at the Curragh (7f, heavy) on final 2-y-o start. Better for belated return when ¾-length second of 8 to Ace Impact in Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville (9.9f, good) 25 days ago but more needed again.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 2
Ran no sort of race when favourite for 2000 Guineas on return and again in the King George at Ascot last time but won the Derby at Epsom (by ½ length from King of Steel) and Irish Derby in between and strong claims if back in that sort of form.
King Of Steel
Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Kevin Stott Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 5
Massive improvement on return for a new yard when finding only Auguste Rodin too good in the Derby, going clear briefly but collared late. Easy winner of Group 2 at Royal Ascot since before creditable third in King George at Ascot. This trip looks ideal and bold bid expected.
Trainer: Mrs J. Harrington Jockey: Shane Foley Age: 3 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 1
Won Derby Trial over C&D before good 7 lengths fourth to Auguste Rodin in Derby at Epsom, hampered at crucial stage. Again not seen to best effect in Irish Derby at the Curragh but suspicion is he’s not up to this level.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
- Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh’s best Saturday bets on Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown
- Horse Racing tips: Rory Delargy’s Champion Stakes Day picks at Leopardstown
- Horse Racing tips: Jason Weaver’s top ITV Racing Picks on Saturday
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
- When is the Irish St Leger? Curragh date, start time, runners and betting
- Irish Champions Festival 2023 race times and schedule for Leopardstown & the Curragh