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2019 Irish Champion Stakes ante-post tips – 6/1 shot to leave punters over the Moon at Leopardstown

Japan (left) and Madhmoon (right, blue and white) will clash again after finishing second and third in the Epsom Derby.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for feature race on day one of Irish Champions Weekend and provides readers with his tips for Leopardstown on Saturday 14th September.


The first day of the spectacular Irish Champions Weekend takes place at Leopardstown, with the Irish Champion Stakes the feature race on Saturday’s superb card. Many of flat racing’s greats have sought fame and fortune in the Irish Champion Stakes, with the names of Daylami, Sea The Stars, Golden Horn and the only two-time winner, Dylan Thomas standing out on the trophy.

For a while, it looked like Juddmonte International winner, Japan would take up his entry in the Irish Champion Stakes, en-route to a seismic showdown with Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Aidan O'Brien, however, has decided to turn down that option and Magical (15/8 Mr Green) will spearhead Ballydoyle's assault in Saturday's feature race.

O’Brien watched his mare complete a hat-trick of victories over ten-furlongs on home soil during the first half of the season, a run which culminated in a seven-length demolition job in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Magical has had to settle for second three times on British soil since then, but defeat to Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot and two losses at the hands of Enable in prestigious Group Ones are hardly results to be sniffed at.

Sitting second in the current betting is Roger Charlton's Headman, who kicked off his campaign with a smart victory in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. Since then, Charlton's charge has recorded back-to-back pattern race victories over in France, but the form of both races doesn't look particularly strong and this is the stiffest challenge he has ever faced..

Elarqam has finally starting to live up to the potential he showed as a juvenile, after spending over a year in the wilderness. Mark Johnston's colt powered to victory in the York Stakes in July, a result he built on in the Juddmonte International, where Jim Crowley's mount stayed on gamely to cross the line just over a length behind Japan in third.

Chris Hayes celebrates as Madhmoon crosses the line in the Future Champions Stakes 12 months ago.


Oisin Murphy will renew his partnership with Deidre, having guided the Japanese raider to a shock victory in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. While there was no fluke about the 20/1 shot's victory that day, many of the fancied horses under-performed significantly and I doubt whether a recreation of that run would be enough to trouble the big guns here.

Anthony Van Dyck then heads a trio of Magical's stablemate at the bottom of the betting. Aidan O'Brien's colt has gone backwards since winning the Derby and it's hard to see him troubling the leading contenders.

Only Crystal Ocean and Enable have been good enough to beat Magical over ten furlongs this season. Yet, this would be, by some distance, the strongest field of challengers she has faced on Irish soil. I’m prepared to take Magical on this weekend and, while Elarqam remains a looming danger, the one that stands out for me is MADHMOON (6/1 Mr Green).

Regular readers of mine will know how highly I rate Madhmoon. Ever since he cruised to victory on debut, I’ve fancied Kevin Prendergast’s charge would go right to the very top. I tipped him in the Guineas, where he stayed on gamely to place fourth, and again in the Derby, where only Anthony Van Dyck was good enough to pass Chris Hayes’ mount.

Madhmoon has won three of his four outings here at Leopardstown, that defeat coming on his reappearance on soft ground, over an unsatisfyingly short seven-furlong trip. Chris Hayes guided his steed to victory in the Future Champion Stakes at this meeting last year and the pair did just enough to win on his recent prep-run for this race over a mile.

After coming up just short in the Derby, this race would have been at the forefront of Kevin Prendergast’s thinking. The long-term weather forecast suggests the ground will come up favourably good and I feel Madhmoon still has untapped potential to fulfill over this ten-furlong trip. At 6/1, he’s the best bet in this year’s Irish Champion Stakes.


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2019 Irish Champion Stakes ante-post tips – 6/1 shot to leave punters over the Moon at Leopardstown

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the feature race on day one of Irish Champions Weekend and provides readers with his tips for Leopardstown on Saturday 14th September.

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