herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

australia can rule but it will not be that easy

I must admit, going to Leopardstown today will bring back a lot of very pleasant memories as the Champion Stakes was a very good race for me throughout my career but I am really looking forward to the entire weekend and it really is a festival of racing.

Why start anywhere else other than with Australia in the Irish Champions Stakes and while I do think Australia will go and win, I can see him having to work a bit harder for it.

I feel that Mukhadram can be better than we saw in Juddmonte and that, maybe, he was feeling the effects of a few recent races on that occasion. With a pacemaker going in this time, that will help him settle and prove a big help to him.

With Trading Leather also present, it is going to be a real solid run race. I think Jim's horse will run better over his favoured trip and his favourite track. The Grey Gatsby probably had a break after the French Derby so you can expect more improvement from his run in the Juddmonte and they certainly have every right to be there.

I do think that Australia will win but I certainly think there will be more asked of him on this occasion.

The fact that The Grey Gatsby was supplemented means they obviously feel the need to come over - and there's a lot of prize money on offer.

The Irish Champion Stakes has been rated as one of the top five races in the world and that should be backed up tomorrow afternoon.

Looking at the Matron Stakes, it is certainly very interesting to see Tapestry coming back to a mile as four furlongs is an awful long way to come back.

Achieved

It looks like she is going to be favourite because of what she achieved in the Yorkshire Oaks but I'm not sure she'll have the speed to be as effective as she was on that occasion because of the trip.

Stamina is what won her the Yorkshire Oaks and. for me. there is no way she can be at her best over a mile and, therefore, I think she's a vulnerable favourite.

As well as that, when Rizeena puts her game hat on she is a bloody good filly and I think turning around Leopardstown might suit her. If she recaptures her Ascot run, I think she'll win.

She was only second behind Intergal at Newmarket and she was only beaten three and a half lengths by Kingman at Deauville and they are our best milers this year so I would be siding with her as she excels at the trip and Ryan Moore is onboard and Ryan has few equals in the saddle.

After running a sound race at Haydock last week, Gordon Lord Byron runs over a mile tomorrow in the Clipper Boomerang Stakes and while he is a course-and-distance winner he might not be able for Dermot's horse Mustajeeb or Aidan's Darwin over a mile.

Darwin's last run was top class when he finished just on the heels of Kingman at Goodwood and a repeat of that will make him very hard to beat, but at this time of year I think I'll just side with the three-year-old who is progressing and that is Mustajeeb who gets a vital five-pound allowance.

Frustrating

It's nice to see that Dermot is also due to get Free Eagle back on track tomorrow in the KPMG Enterprise Stakes after what has been a frustrating season, no doubt.

The team of Rosewell predicted Free Eagle to be their Derby horse this year but things contrived against them. Therefore, it's good to see him back and if he is to be a very good horse he would probably want to be winning this on his comeback.

The exciting John F Kennedy faces a nice challenge in the John Deere Juvenile Turf Stakes and I look forward to see how he comes on as Bertie Le Belge will give him a test.

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