Japanese superstar Deirdre has been confirmed a runner in next month's QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, the centrepiece on day one of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown on Saturday, 14 September.
Mitsuru Hashida’s mare was a brilliant winner of the recent Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, becoming only the second ever Japanese-trained Group 1 winner in Britain, and her next run in Europe has been the subject of much speculation since that victory.
That speculation ended today with the confirmation from connections that a tilt at the Irish Championm next month which, like the Nassau, is run over 10 furlongs. She will become the first ever Japanese-trained runner in Ireland.
"We are delighted to have a horse of Deirdre’s calibre come to compete at Longines Irish Champions Weekend," said Leopardstown and Curragh CEO Pat Keogh.
"Longines Irish Champions Weekend is in its sixth year and from the very beginning, creating an international dimension to the biggest weekend in Irish Flat racing was an integral part of the concept, so to have Deirdre come here with her sporting connections is exceptional news.
"She is a prolific mare that proved her brilliance at Goodwood and it will be a wonderful spectacle to see her compete at Leopardstown."
Her trainer Mitsuru Hashida said the prize-money on offer at Leopardstown, together with the race distance and conditions, made the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes the best fit for Deirdre's next stop on her thrilling European odyssey.
"Bringing Deirdre over to Europe has been a wonderful adventure, and we have been overwhelmed with the friendliness of the welcome," said Mitsuru Hashida.
"Her winning the Nassau Stakes was a fabulous day, not just for us but for Japanese racing and we now can’t wait for her to become the first ever Japanese runner in Ireland, especially in such a globally renowned race as the QIPCQ Irish Champion Stakes.
"It will be a great honour for us, and we will be doing our very best to make sure our mare will again represent her country so magnificently."
The last mare to win the race was The Fugue in 2013, the great Snow Fairy won it the previous year and fillies and mares have come close in recent years with Found a back-to-back runner-up in 2015 and 2016.
Deirdre’s Goodwood-winning jockey, Oisin Murphy, was aboard Roaring Lion when he took the race last year.