/ Racing

Leopardstown bathed in sunshine ahead of Irish Champion Stakes

Updated: Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 21:24 | Comments

The Fugue's love of fast ground could yet propel her into clear favouritism for the Irish Champion Stakes
The Fugue's love of fast ground could yet propel her into clear favouritism for the Irish Champion Stakes

Audio

A trip to Paris on Sunday week looks increasingly like the next option for Al Kazeem with fast ground set to prevail at Leopardstown this weekend.

Roger Charlton's five-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic campaign so far, completing a Group One hat-trick in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

He suffered his first defeat when third in a fast-ground Juddmonte International at York last month and with similar conditions likely in Ireland on Saturday, the Prix Foy at Longchamp on 15 September will come under consideration.

"If you look at the weather forecast there should be some rain on Wednesday into Thursday, but I don't think a lot," Charlton told At The Races.

"It will take a lot to change the ground there, so I would say he's extremely unlikely (to run) unless suddenly we read there's a thunder storm and it's going to pour with rain.

"We'll have a look at the Prix Foy as an alternative. That is the next thing we'll look at and then we'll decide if he runs and what he does after that. It's still in the air."

Leopardstown's racing and operations manager Nessa Joyce reported a dry and bright afternoon at the Foxrock venue on Tuesday and is not expecting any significant change until Saturday itself.

Joyce said: "It's an amazing day today. It's dry, bright and warm and there are people out and about in shorts.

"Temperatures might be a little cooler on Wednesday and Thursday, but it's due to be dry. I'm told it's very unlikely we'll get any rain over the next few days.

"Met Eireann says there is something from the south east brewing that could arrive on Saturday itself, so there is a chance of some showers then, but we'll have to see.

"We are watering at the moment and we expect to send out a going report of good to firm on Wednesday morning."

Aidan O'Brien's was repsonsible for six of the 13 entries at Monday's confirmation stage.

The sextet includes Juddmonte International winner Declaration Of War, brilliant two-year-old Kingbarns and Derby winner Ruler Of The World, but Joyce is as much in the dark as anyone else about which will line up.

"Aidan is keeping his cards close to his chest," she said.

"They won't be going into any of the races half-hearted and I'm sure they'll be picking carefully which should run in the Irish Champion.

"There is also The Fugue and Trading Leather in the race. I can see those two and one of Aidan's coming up the straight together, that would be great."

Live television coverage of the Irish Champion Stakes meeting at Leopardstown from 5pm on Saturday on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only).

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use