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Winter Set For Return In Irish Champion Stakes

August 17, 2017 12:30:47 PM
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By: Lee Ashfield

Dual Classic winner Winter is set to remain at 1m2f for her next outing as her trainer Aidan O’Brien has hinted the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown will be her latest assignment in what would be her first test against the opposite sex.

Winter continued O’Brien’s fantastic record in the 1000 Guineas back in May where she stayed on strongly inside the final stages of the 1m contest at Newmarket to beat stablemate and red-hot favourite Rhododendron.

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In the Irish equivalent of the fillies’ Classic, Winter was even more impressive as she was over four lengths clear of her rivals at the Curragh when crossing the line. Despite it being her third run in two months, the daughter of Galileo then completed an impressive hat-trick of wins in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Winter stepped up to 1m2f for the first time in her career in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood where she had no problem at that distance. She was given a patient ride by former Campion Jockey Ryan Moore on soft ground and before she ran on inside the final furlong to score ahead of Blond Me and Sobetsu respectively.

In the Irish Champion Stakes horse racing betting, Winter has opened up as the 7/2 favourite to prevail for the fifth time this season. She has not run in Ireland since her second place finish in the 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes back in April. If successful in the prestigious Group One she is likely to remain at the trip and O’Brien could consider the Champion Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot in October as her finale for the 2017 campaign.

Churchill On A Recovery Mission

Churchill was unable to get the opportunity to put his disappointing run at Royal Ascot behind him in the Sussex Stakes as the ground came up too soft for him at the Sussex-racecourse forcing O’Brien to withdraw his horse from the race just hours before it was due to take place.

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With few high profile one-mile races left on the calendar this season, the Ballydoyle trainer may pit his two Guineas winners against each other at Leopardstown to determine which is his best three year old. Churchill won two Group One races on his debut season, including the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He then justified strong market support in the 2000 Guineas as he defeated Barney Roy in the opening Classic of 2017.

Churchill had no problem on slow ground in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh but connections were unable to explain his poor showing in the St James’s Palace Stakes where he had to settle for fourth place.

O’Brien’s colt is second best at 5/1 to win the Irish Champion Stakes. He could also be joined in the race by Cliffs Of Moher and Highland Reel who also have entries for the Irishman. French Derby winner Brametot is set to lead the charge against the O’Brien runners, while Almanzor may make a return to action after 10 months off the track.

The Irish Champion Stakes takes place on September 9 and is the feature race on Irish Champions Weekend in what is one of the biggest meetings of the year in Europe.

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