Leopardstown Irish Champions Weekend Preview

Alan Marron is back to preview day one of Irish Champions Weekend from Leopardstown.

We have an excellent weekend of racing which all starts with Longines Irish Champions weekend from Leopardstown which features the Irish Champion Stakes. There is plenty of value to be had throughout the card from the classy Group races to the competitive handicaps. Folks, call into your local Bar One Racing shop and check out the offers and specials we have available.  

All live show favourites will be price boosted so call in and avail of the best price the industry has to offer. 


Jessica Harrigton and Shane Foley have been in flying form this season and they will hopefully get another winner on the board with NO SPEAK ALEXANDER.

She was fourth in the Prix Du Calvados last time out behind Fev Rover when ridden by Frankie Dettori and this looks a step down in grade and she should be far too good for the opposition.

Kings Harlequin who finished just in front of her in Deauville went on to land a Group Three on Thursday at Longchamp so the form is very strong.

No Speak Alexander was visually very impressive when breaking her maiden tag in Roscommon on heavy ground.

She will have learned plenty from Deauville and should prove extremely hard to beat here.


ARTHURIAN FAME owned by the Blackrock Racing Club looks to have a strong chance here on the basis of a course victory off a mark two pound higher than what he will race off this time around.

This horse has given his owners plenty of fun so far and has had a mixed campaign this season of both flat and over hurdles. With Mikey Sheehy claiming seven pounds here he looks nicely handicapped and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him high wide and handsome off the home turn and be closing late and fast on the leaders.

Hayley Turner was on board when this horse was victorious at Leopardstown back in May 2019 and he produced a lovely turn of foot up the straight to win going away.

He has had a couple of spins over hurdles to freshen him up and he looks one to give us a solid run for our money and could go very close.


Irish Champions weekend always produces top quality racing and the Group Ones start here with a very strong renewal of the Matron Stakes.

ALBIGNA was slightly disappointing last time at the Curragh when she was even money favourite but I think she may have needed the run and could improve massively off the back of it.

Her two year old form from last season was extremely strong and she started favourite for the Irish 1000 Guineas and flattened out to finish midfield. She will come in under the radar this time around and looks overpriced to me in the antepost market this week.

She was a Group One winner last season in France and if she can get back to that form she must go close.

Jessica Harrington has a nack of getting these fillies back to their best and Albigna has plenty of ability and could show it this weekend.

Jessica Harrington will be looking to get Albigna back to form in a quality renewal of the Matron Stakes.


One of the most interesting runners on the day for me is the Joseph O Brien trained SNAPRAETEREA as he has caught my eye on numerous occasions this season.

His maiden victory at Bellewstown was above average in my eyes as he was free throughout the race and struggled to handle the undulations but still managed to overcome that and get up and win in decisive fashion.

He showed how green he was that day by jumping the path and losing his momentum but still got up close home. He went to Killarney on his second start and the race was run at a ferocious pace and it didn’t suit him. He stayed on strongly up the straight to finish second behind Bubbles On Ice but was never going to get to the winner.

His third run was an impressive all the way success at Roscommon and then last time out he caught the eye again when finishing fourth to Mac Swiney in the Futurity at the Curragh.

He took quite a hold that day and looked to have exerted a little too much energy early on. Leopardstown is a track that should really suit his style and he should be finishing fast and late.

Will be very hard to keep out of the frame.

Snapraeterea is a very exciting colt for Joseph O’Brien, will he prove it here?


The feature of Day One of Irish Champions weekend and it is great to see Ghaiyyath take his place here and he will be extremely hard to beat.

I have been keeping a close eye on SOTTSAAS this season and while he has been disappointing this race could really suit him.

Jean Claude Rouget knows what it takes to win this race having been successful with Almanzor back in 2016. Sottsaas was beaten short priced favourite on his first run this season before landing the Prix Ganay at Chantilly on his second start. I was expecting him to win impressively last time out but he got picked up inside the final furlong and was subsequently beaten a neck.

Colin Keane will be on board here and he will have a very willing partner and could be the one to give Ghaiyyath plenty to think about. On rating he has plenty to find but there is no doubt his trainer will have him in prime condition for the day and I expect a very big run.

I would look at the reverse forecast with Ghaiyyath and even the betting without market. There could be a little bit of value by playing both.



SINAWANN is one of two course and distance winners in the field and the double figure prices that are available look very big for me here.

He ran a very good race when second to Mogul in the Champion Juvenile on this card last season and he has improved ever since. He finished sixth behind Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas before a very taking performance in the Amethyst Stakes here on his second last run.

He was third to Armory in the Royal Whip at the Curragh last time when he was very one paced towards the finish. Three year olds get a weight for age allowance here and with the return to Leopardstown likely to be in his favour I could see him running a big race at a massive price.

He looks solid each way value in a competitive race.

5.15 1M 4F STAKES (GROUP 3)

FRESNEL is a filly that has impressed me this season and she has been extremely unlucky not to get her head in front.

She has finished second twice over course and distance, firstly in the Noblesse Stakes and secondly in the Ballyroan the last time she was seen. She hasn’t been successful since she broke her maiden at Dundalk on her debut but she has ran some very solid races.

She is a credit to the stable of Jack Davison and they will hopefully get their day in the limelight here. She set the tempo last time in the Ballyroan and was only gunned down late on by the Ger Lyons trained Nickajack Cave.

She should be able to set the fractions here also and might slip them under Ronan Whelan.

She is likely to be a very big price but she is one to keep a close eye on.



Ger Lyons has a very interesting filly declared here in AUXILIA with Sam Ewing claiming ten pound aboard.

This filly was second over course and distance on her debut before breaking her maiden tag next time out. Apart from one run in a handicap she has been kept in listed or group company and has run some very solid races.

She returns to handicap company here and looks very nicely weighted for what she has achieved. With Sam claiming ten pound it will bring her mark from 96 to 86 and that for me looks very lenient. She finished third to Fancy Blue in October 2019 and while Fancy Blue has gone on and gained Group success, Auxilia has seen her form plateau out.

If she can come back to anywhere close to that run then a mark of 86 will really underestimate her ability. She is nicely drawn in stall five and Sam should be able to adopt a handy position.

She looks solid each way value in a competitive handicap to end the card.

Auxilia could be a very interesting runner for Ger Lyons in the last race on the card.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article