Golden Horn Value To Blow Away Rivals

Punters are in for a real Group 1 treat over the weekend, including the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday evening (5.45pm), which has attracted a mouth-watering line-up.

Indeed, this year’s renewal promises to be a vintage affair, with each of the eight runners having tasted Group 1 success during their career, including the talented trio of Golden Horn (7/4), Free Eagle (11/4) and Gleneagles (4/1) all set to lock horns over 1m2f.

Horn To Swap Silver For Gold?
It’s a clash that will keep punters guessing right until the off, and so far support has pushed Golden Horn into 2/1 favoritism. Having won the Derby and Eclipse, John Gosden’s colt finally met with defeat in the Juddmonte International at York last month when touched off by Arabian Queen. Not many saw the hotpot being turned over that day, and it may well be that a hard season caught him out, hence why Free Eagle is just behind him in the market at 11/4.

Weld Lets Eagle Free
Dermot Weld’s 4yo won a Group 3 over C&D last autumn, and confirmed his promise when landing the Group Prince of Wales’s Stakes on his return at Royal Ascot (1m2f, good to firm). He just got the better of the Grey Gatsby (10/1) that day, and the fact Free Eagle has been kept fresh for this may give him an edge over the remainder.

Free Eagle (rated 123) is also rated high enough based on past renewals of Saturday’s event…

Irish Champion Trends
Of the last 10 winners…

10 returned 8/1 or shorter
10 ran over 1m2f or further last time
10 ran in a Group 1 last time
9 won during their last three runs
9 were beaten no more then 4l last time
8 were officially rated 119 or higher
A O’Brien won it five times

One of the standout stats from above is Aidan O’Brien’s 50% record in the race, and the Ballydoyle maestro has a decent chance of improving that record with Gleneagles (4/1).

Will Gleneagles Stay The Trip?
This high-class colt made it 7-9 when landing the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (1m, good to firm), having previously landed both 2,000 Guineas. The big question is whether Gleneagles will stay the extra two furlongs, and as a son of Galileo, plenty of punters have backed him to do so.

One with less to prove over the 1m2f trip is Cirrus Des Aigles (9/1), a five-time Group 1 winner at around this distance. The last of those came in May, prior to finishing last of four three weeks later, but he has been rested since and may bounce back with a vengeance. Any rain would aid this 9yo’s cause.

Double-Figure Odds For In-Form Fillies
As for the talented 3yo fillies, Found (12/1) and Pleascach (16/1), both enjoy a weight allowance from the field, and both arrive in form having won over this trip last time. Found took a Group 3 at the Curragh, having earlier this season been beaten 1/2l by Pleascach in the 1,000 Guineas. The latter has since added the Irish Oaks, and is a magnificent filly in her own right, but both will need to improve if beating the males.

A mention also goes to Ballydoyle’s, Highland Reel (20/1), who is a big price having won a Grade 1 over this trip in America last time, making all the running. Similar tactics could have some of these in trouble.

Recommended Bets

A very classy renewal, and one in which Golden Horn represents good value at 2/1.

Highly impressive in winning both the Derby and Eclipse, he was unsuited by a slow pace at York last time, but should enjoy a better gallop to shoot at on Saturday.

*Prices correct at time of publication.