Champion Stakes promises quality in abundance as big three primed for Leopardstown showdown

Champion Stakes promises quality in abundance as big three primed for Leopardstown showdown A HIGH-CLASS renewal of the Irish Champion Stakes is guaranteed with Tarnawa taking on the likes of St Mark’s Basilica and Poetic Flare in the September clash.

With October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe the main target for Tarnawa, trainer Dermot Weld is lining up a run at Leopardstown as preparation for the Paris trip.

The five-year-old boasts a sequence of five straight wins, and in his only run this year impressed with a six-length success in the Grant Thornton Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown – his first run in 271 days, reports History of Sport.

And it was last season that Tarnawa really started making the racing world sit up and take notice, claiming the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera before beating the favourite Magical in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

“I thought she was very impressive,” said Weld after her seasonal debut. “Today was the intended day to start, because it’s a long way from now to November, and there are a lot of bridges to cross. We could have waited for the Give Thanks Stakes at Cork, but with the possibility of heavy rain we thought it more prudent to come here.

“She has done all of her work at home. I would have loved to get her away two weeks ago but it just wasn’t possible. She has been going extremely well at home and has probably strengthened since last year.”

On plans for the rest of the year, Weld added: “It’s a long season, but where she runs between now and the Arc will be the decision. At the moment I’d say the Irish Champion Stakes would be the most likely. The Breeders’ Cup and Japan Cup come later in November and December, and please God there are many more months to come. But the Arc has always been the plan – it’s the reason she stayed in training.”

While Tarnawa is currently trading as the 6/1 favourite for the Arc, as Horse. Bet reports, she is the 10/3 second favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes, with St Mark’s Basilica ahead of her in the betting – Aidan O’Brien’s son of Siyouni installed as the 2/1 favourite for the Leopardstown feature. Lauded as an “incredible horse” by O’Brien, who has seen more than his fair share of top-class racers, the colt has enjoyed a memorable season with three runs and three wins: two classics and a Group One with victories at Longchamp in the French 2000 Guineas, Chantilly for the French Derby, before dominating his rivals in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

The three-year-old finished 2020 as Europe’s highest-rated juvenile, having won the Dewhurst Stakes on his final start of last year, and is priced at 10/1 for the Arc. BBC Sport

The English 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare is just behind the leading two in the Leopardstown betting, and was narrowly defeated in the Prix Jacques Le Marios at Deauville by Palace Pier. The Jim Bolger-trained son of Dawn Approach lost little in a narrow defeat, just pipped on the line in a thrilling finish at Deauville

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