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

Starman tipped to shine brightest in Sprint Cup Showdown

Starman tipped to shine brightest in Sprint Cup Showdown HAYDOCK’S biggest race of the year, the Sprint Cup, is gearing up to be a high-class affair with Starman installed as the firm favourite to claim the £162K first prize. Some horse racing sites in the UK will offer good prices, odds and offers ahead of this event.

The Group One is a six-furlong test for the speedsters of Britain and Ireland, and has been in the grip of the English over recent years, with trainer Ed Walker keen to maintain that record with his four-year-old Darley July Cup winner.

Starman leads the betting despite following up his Newmarket success with defeat at Deauville, the trainer insisting he lost nothing in his third-placed finish in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Owner David Ward was keen to send him over the Channel in search of a second Group One, but the son of Dutch Art found both the conditions at the French track and the extra half a furlong not in his favour. BBC Sport

But Walker believes he will come on for the run despite registering a second defeat in seven career races, with the Sprint Cup still firmly in his sights.

“I’m very proud of him. He ran a massive race and was very brave. He’s genuine and talented and the ground just blunted his speed and put more of an emphasis on stamina,” said the Upper Lambourn trainer, who claimed his own first Group One success with Starman’s Darley July Cup victory at Newmarket.

“He was beaten by a couple of horses that have got very good form over further. I think he lost nothing in defeat and credit to David Ward for being brave enough to give it a shot.”

There’ll be stiff competition when he heads to Merseyside in September, with long-time rivals Dragon Symbol and Glen Shiel also near the top of the betting. Dragon Symbol was just over a length behind Starman in the Darley July Cup and despite Glen Shiel being down the field at Newmarket and at Deauville, the seven-year-old did inflict his only defeat on home shores in the QIPCO British Champion Spring Stakes at Ascot last year.

That reverse at Ascot, however, was in soft conditions, and Starman was taken out of the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot on account of the testing surface, with both owner and trainer having their fingers crossed for drying weather in the build up to Haydock, reports History of Sport.

The Sprint Cup trends point to the likes of Starman (9/2), Dragon Symbol (13/2) or Glen Shiel (9/1) being successful, with six of the last eight winners having been in the first three in the betting, and three of the last five favourites triumphing.

Further down the betting brings in the Irish contenders who will be targeting the Haydock showdown despite their distinctive lack of success in the race over recent years. The likes of Gustavus Weston and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Battleground will be hoping to mimic Gordon Lord Byron’s win in 2013 – the Tom Hogan-trained five-year-old beat Slade Power into second for an Irish one-two, the only success for the Irish in the race for almost 50 years.

There’s solid support for Gustavus Weston, who is currently trading at around 12/1, and Tipperary trainer Joe Murphy sends the horse over in great form following the most impressive win of his career under his belt – a front-running success under Gary Carroll in the Group 3 Rathasker Stud Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh.

Leicester City Wins Premier League 2015/16

Leicester City Wins Premier League 2015/16 In 2014/15, newly-promoted Leicester City won seven of their last nine matches to ensure Premier League survival. However, by the start of the 2015/16 season Claudio ‘The Tinkerman’ Ranieri had replaced Nigel Pearson as manager and the Leicester City was written off by bookmakers, who offered 5,000/1 against the team winning the top tier of English football for the first time in their 132-year history. Indeed, the same astronomical odds were still available on October 6, by which time the Foxes had won four, and drawn three, of their first seven Premier League fixtures and lay fifth, just three points behind leaders Manchester City.

However, the bookmakers soon learned the error of their ways and what followed was widely considered one of the greatest shocks in sporting history. In a truly remarkable campaign, striker Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record by scoring for the eleventh consecutive game in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the King Power Stadium in November and, in early February, Leicester City became favourites to win the Premier League. By mid-March, the Foxes were odds-on and went on to win the title with two games to spare, eventually by ten points. Vardy was named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, winger Riyad Mahrez was named Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year, while defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante and centre-half Wes Morgan were both named, alongside Vardy and Mahrez, in the PFA Team of the Year.

Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League Title Story (VIDEO)

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