Irish Champions Weekend

“For Reasons Outside Of Racing” – Amo Racing Sacks Stott As Retained Rider

Amo Racing's Kia Joorabchian has sacked Kevin Stott as the retained rider for the operation. Stott is understood to have been informed of the decision by text on Monday morning and it comes after the 29-year-old suffered defeat on Bucanero Fuerte and King Of Steel in Group 1 contests at the Irish Champions Festival.  Stott replaced Rossa Ryan in the role as Amo Racing's number one jockey earlier this year and partnered the breakthrough Group 1 winner for the team when landing the Phoenix S. at the Curragh last month. ...

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Vespertilio Al Shira'aa's 'Best Chance' At Irish Champions Festival

Al Shira'aa's Kieran Lalor has nominated Vespertilio (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) as the operation's best chance of a winner at the Irish Champions Festival where the rapidly-progressive filly lines out in Sunday's G1 Moyglare S. at the Curragh.  Vespertilio forms part of a three-pronged attack on Ireland's flagship Flat festival that features homebred Atlantic Coast (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) in Saturday's G2 KPMG Champions Juvenile S. at Leopardstown and Ocean Jewel (Ire) (Sioux Nation) in the Matron S. on the same card.  "We've six horses in training in Ireland and...

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King Of Steel Heads 13 Still Standing For Irish Champion Stakes

King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}) heads the 13 still standing for Saturday's Royal Bahrain Irish Champion S. at Leopardstown on a weekend where the colt's owners Amo Racing could bid for a Group 1 double with Bucanero Fuerte (GB) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) on course for the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S on Sunday.  Trained by Roger Varian, King Of Steel heads the betting for the Irish Champions Stakes, the showpiece event of the rebranded Irish Champions Festival, and connections of the colt are predicting a bold display.  "It's a...

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Stallion News: Kevin Blake And Jack Cantillon Buy Smart Sprinter Bouttemont

Kevin Blake and Jack Cantillon have secured French sprinter Bouttemont (Ire), who they are targeting at a rare Group 1 double in the Flying Five and Prix de l'Abbaye, before standing the highly-rated son of Acclamation (GB) in Ireland.  Bouttemont will see out his career with current trainer Yann Barberot and will race in the colours of Syndicates.Racing, the successful ownership group which is headed by Cantillon.  A number of packages that include racing and breeding rights are available in the Group 3 winner with Blake describing the opportunity to...

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Mid-Season Break For Tahiyra Ahead Of Likely Matron Stakes Tilt On ICW

Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) has returned home to Gilltown Stud for a well-deserved break after her Royal Ascot heroics and, according to Pat Downes, the triple Group 1 winner could kick-start her autumn campaign in the G1 Matron S. at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend.  Downes, the Aga Khan's manager of the Irish studs, has said that the most impressive aspect of Tahiyra's G1 Coronation S. success was the fact that Dermot Weld's charge was able to win despite the race not being run to suit. Downes said, "We were...

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“You Have To Kiss A Lot Of Frogs Before You Find Your Prince”

   By her own admission, Eve Johnson Houghton does not have unlimited resources to tap into at the yearling sales, which makes her successes in recent seasons all the more impressive.    The trainer sent out 10,000gns purchase Chipotle (GB) (Havana Gold {Ire}) to win the Windsor Castle S. at Royal Ascot last season and, proving that result was no fluke, bagged the lucrative Tattersalls-sponsored sales race at the Curragh on Sunday with another cheaply-bought son of Havana Gold, the unbeaten Streets Of Gold (Ire).    With the help of...

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'We Think He's A Guineas Horse,' – Connections Purring Over Al Riffa

Connections of Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), the brilliant G1 National S. winner, are confident that they have a Guineas horse on their hands and are predicting Joseph O'Brien's exciting colt to be even better next year. Khalifa Bin Ahmed Alattiyah, a familiar face on Irish racecourses and on the sales circuit, was at the Curragh on Sunday to see Al Riffa, owned by his cousin Jassim Bin Ali Al Attiyah, tower over his rivals. Not only did Al Riffa provide crack youngster Dylan Browne McMonagle with his first...

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Invincible Spirit's Pearls Galore Makes All For Matron Glory

Second in Leopardstown's G1 Coolmore America Justify Matron S. when just running out of runway in the one-mile contest last term, Paddy Twomey trainee Pearls Galore (Fr) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}--Pearl Banks {GB}, by Pivotal {GB}) left nothing to chance in this year's renewal back at the Foxrock venue and led every step of the way this time around to secure her first victory at the highest level. The Matron victory also booked Pearls Galore's ticket to the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November. Haras de...

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Kodiac's Zarinsk Makes All In The Ingabelle

Irish Champions Weekend got under way with Leopardstown's €100,000 Listed Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle S. over seven furlongs, for 2-year-old fillies, which went the way of Ger Lyons and Colin Keane for a second straight edition after Juddmonte's Zarinsk (GB) (Kodiac {GB}--Pavlosk, by Arch) posted a 2 1/2-length success from Library (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Zarinsk, who backed up a May 22 debut success at the Curragh with a fourth in the G2 Airlie Stud S. back there the following month, was unable to feature at the business end of...

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John Quinn: 'Flying Five-Bound Highfield Princess The Best I've Trained' 

John Quinn has showered star sprinter Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) with praise and described the G1 Flying Five-bound filly as the best he's trained. Highfield Princess is chasing a third Group 1 win on the spin when she lines out in Sunday's Flying Five S. at the Curragh, one of the feature races of Longines Irish Champions Weekend and Quinn, a native of County Tipperary who has been based in England for the majority of his racing career, is in no doubt that the speedball is the...

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Natalia Lupini: The Small Trainer Hoping To Make A Big Impact On ICW

Natalia Lupini may only have a string of 16 horses in her Gilford yard in County Down but the Milan native is hoping to make a major impact on Longines Irish Champions Weekend. This season has been Lupini's best yet. She has sent out nine winners, four of which have been recorded by Dunum (Ire) (Ivawood {Ire}), who failed to get into Saturday's "Sovereign Path" H. at Leopardstown. However, the trainer is still hoping to be represented in the race by yard favourite and seven-time winner Blairmayne (Ire) (Zebedee {GB}),...

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Ryan Moore: “I Think We'll See A Better Version Of Luxembourg On Saturday”

Ryan Moore has admitted that G1 French Derby and G1 Coral-Eclipse winner Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}) sets the standard in the Royal Bahrain Irish Champion S. at Leopardstown on Saturday but warned that Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) should not be underestimated in the feature race of Longines Irish Champions Weekend. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Luxembourg got his season off to a promising start when third in the G1 2000 Guineas, but suffered a setback in the build-up to the Derby. He won in workmanlike fashion on his return from a 105-day...

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