where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2017-09-08 11:33:15  

Several prominent South African owners will be represented by runners in major races on what has become one of the biggest racing weekends this week.

Irish Champions Weekend sees major Gr1 action take place at two different Irish venues on Saturday and Sunday, with five feature races due to be run at Leopardstown this Saturday, and five group features scheduled for Sunday’s Curragh meeting.

Two Gr1 races highlight each day, with the Gr1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes and Gr1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes due to be run on Saturday, and the Corner Group Irish St Leger and Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes highlighted the Curragh action the following day.

South African owner Mary Slack will be represented by the Gr1 Matron Stakes with her Gr3 Gladness Stakes winning filly Diamond Fields (who is appropriately enough a daughter of Fastnet Rock). The four-year-old does appear to have a tough task on her hands, however, with her opponents including the outstanding filly Winter, who is bidding for a fifth consecutive Gr1 win, and fellow top level winners Qemah (Danehill Dancer), Intricately (Fastnet Rock), Rhododendron (Galileo), Roly Poly (War Front) and Wuheida (Dubawi).

Mauritzfontein bred and owned Equus Champion Smart Call, pictured, by Ideal World looks a major contender for Sunday’s Gr2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes following a close and unlucky fourth in the recent Gr1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet.

Markus Jooste will also be represented on Saturday in a major Gr1 race, as he is a part-owner of Gr1 Investec Derby runner up Cliffs Of Moher, who lines up in the Gr1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (a race won previously by the likes of Sadler’s Wells, Giant’s Causeway and Sea The Stars).

Local breeders will also be closely following this weekend’s results, with several South African sires siblings to runners in major Grade One races.

Rhododendron (Galileo) and Hydrangea (Galileo), runners in the Matron Stakes, are full-sisters to local sires Flying The Flag and The United States respectively, while Seventh Heaven (Galileo), who runs in Sunday’s Gr2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes is a half-sister to Scott Bros’ Gr1 Middle Park Stakes winning sire Crusade. (Another half-brother to Crusade, Gr2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes second Coat Of Arms (Galileo), is a runner in Sunday’s Gr1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Remarkably, Bush Hill Stud’s resident sire Flying The Flag (Galileo) is also a full-brother to Sunday’s Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes leading contender, and recent Gr2 Breast Cancer Research Debutante winner, Magical.

Image Alec Laird Racing

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