Leopardstown Saturday tips – Best bets on day one of Irish Champions Weekend

Leopardstown Saturday tips for day one of Irish Champions WeekendLeopardstown Saturday tips for day one of Irish Champions Weekend

A top-class fixture of horse racing action awaits punters in Ireland for day one of Irish Champions Weekend and we give our Leopardstown Saturday tips for an unmissable racecard.

It is the first day of Irish Champions Weekend and an eight-race card awaits Irish racing punters at Leopardstown, spearheaded by the Irish Champion Stakes which dominates the day’s proceedings.

The main event of the day is joined by fellow Group One contest the Matron Stakes and both races will feature as part of ITV Racing’s Saturday coverage; meanwhile there is further Group racing and some competitive handicaps also on a top-class fixture.

We look through the card and give our Leopardstown Saturday tips for all eight races going to post.


2:00 Leopardstown – Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies) (2yo) 7f

EARTH STRIKE looked a very useful prospect when making a winning debut at this venue last month and Joseph O’Brien’s charge can improve on that first experience.

TheZoffany filly readily brushed aside Royal Blend and others to score by almost three lengths and given she still looked a little raw around the edges is expected to build on that first outing where she can make her presence felt at this higher level.

She has different ground conditions to tackle this time, but she looked an exciting sort who is likely to progress and looks one to keep on the right side of for now.

Joseph O’Brien can strike an early winner at Leopardstown.

2:35 Leopardstown – Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 1m5f

WINNER TAKES ITALL is a lightly raced sort in this discipline and has shaped well in his handful of starts on the flat, including registering a win at Gowran Park back in June.

Joseph O’Brien’s Nathaniel gelding is also a winner over timber and he’s forgiven his latest outing at Dundalk when finishing six lengths’ ninth behind Sky Seven where he wasn’t well placed to get competitive after fluffing his lines at the start.

He is perhaps better judged by his earlier efforts and he could progress in this sphere stepping up in trip which might unlock some improvement. He has been spoiling his chances with slow starts the last twice which is a slight worry, but if he can break on terms and get into a decent position then he can go close in this competitive contest.

3:10 Leopardstown – Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies & Mares) (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) (3yo+) 1m

It could be worth giving another chance to Jessica Harrington’s ALBIGNA who can bounce back to form here and collect this prize.

The Zoffany filly was one of last season’s best juvenile fillies, winning the Prix Marcel Boussac and running a very creditable fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf although she hasn’t been at her best in two starts this term.

Only sixth behind the reopposing Peaceful in the Irish 1000 Guineas where she may have needed the run, she was turned over in the Snow Fairy Stakes next time when finishing runner-up behind Thundering Nights. However the yard were relatively quiet at that time and she was possibly still a shade rusty given she was returning from another layoff as she did travel strongly into the contest before finding less than looked likely.

It is too early to give up on her and she could yet come good this term where she is likely to be sharper with that recent run under her belt. These conditions are fine and she can turn in a big effort.

Albigna can bounce back to winning form at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Albigna can bounce back to winning form at Leopardstown on Saturday.

3:40 Leopardstown – KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 2) (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) (2yo) 1m

CADILLAC was an impressive debut winner at this venue back in July, running out a comfortable nine lengths’ victor over Ebeko and the Lope De Vega colt subsequently found only Mac Swiney too strong when tackling the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh last month where he was denied only by a half-length.

The ground was very testing that day and he had a couple of these behind despite meeting with defeat himself. It may be that he didn’t cope with the softer ground as well as the winner but he can quickly bounce back to winning ways returned to a more suitable and quicker surface this time around.

Given the emphatic nature of his debut win and having looked a smart prospect he lost little caste in meeting with defeat in that last run and he could be worth sticking with to make a return to the winners’ enclosure here upped in trip on better ground.

4:10 Leopardstown – Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) (3yo+) 1m2f

GHAIYYATH goes from strength to strength this season, winning for the fourth time in succession when emphatically adding the Juddmonte International to an impressive haul of victories and Charlie Appleby’s charge ought to be hard to beat here over his optimum trip.

The Dubawi colt has only tasted defeat three times in his career, two of which came on soft ground; but he has been imperious on better conditions and having struck at Meydan in February he has since added the Coronation Cup, Coral Eclipse and Juddmonte International to his record this term to go with his classy wins last term.

He can count the likes of Stradivarius and Enable amongst his victims this term and he latterly had the reopposing Magical three lengths’ adrift when scoring a comfortable success at York last month. He could again be left alone up front to dictate his own pace and he’ll again prove a very tough nut to crack over his best trip.

It wouldn’t be a shock to anyone to see the Godolphin runner register win number five for the campaign and he should take all the beating here.

Ghaiyyath can make it five wins for the season in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Ghaiyyath can make it five wins for the season in the Irish Champion Stakes.

4:45 Leopardstown – Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile (Group 2) (3yo+) 1m

LANCASTER HOUSE can quickly bounce back from his recent defeat behind Romanised at the Curragh in July and Aidan O’Brien’s charge should go well.

A hat-trick winner last term which included over nine furlongs at Listowel, he was disappointing in this race twelve months ago when sent off favourite; but he beat only two home, possibly finding the outing coming too soon just five days on from his earlier hat-trick landing win.

He made no mistake on his return, beating Speak In Colours readily to take the Gladness Stakes and lost little in defeat last time where he was unable to match the winners’ effort. However this extra furlong and better ground could help him to quickly bounce back from that defeat and he can go one better under Ryan Moore to regain the winning thread.

5:15 Leopardstown – Paddy Power ‘Is It 2021 Yet?’ Stakes (Group 3) (3yo+) 1m4f

TIGER MOTH bumped into St Leger hopeful Santiago in the Irish Derby but found only that rival too strong by a head and Aidan O’Brien’s charge can get back on the scoresheet here.

The Galileo colt had shaped well on debut at the Curragh last October, finishing third, but he got off the mark in good style when beating Dawn Patrol on his reappearance at this venue in June where he scored by a half-length but looked value for more than the official distance.

That runner-up has won since and also finished third in the Irish Derby behind the selection so the form looks useful although he was five lengths behind in the bronze medal berth. The Ballydoyle runner travelled well into the Irish Derby, challenging the winner all the way to the line but just unable to go past his battling stablemate and a repeat ought to see him go close.

He has scope to improve further after just three runs and dropping back into a Group Three contest he should give a good account providing a 77-day absence hasn’t left signs of rustiness.

5:50 Leopardstown – Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Sovereign Path’ Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) 7f

GALLIPOLI is chanced to bounce back from a disappointing all-weather run nine days ago and Richard Fahey’s raider can make his presence felt if reproducing the level of performance that had seen him win at Chester the time before.

The Compton Place gelding has won twice this term, also scoring at Redcar and not for the first time he underperformed on the Chelmsford polytrack where he beat only three rivals home behind Alnaseem.

He did finish just behind a subsequent winner, but he’ll need to do better here although a return to turf could trigger a better effort back racing over arguably his optimum trip and he has proven competitive in the past from this mark so he could run well at a price.