French Raider Vadeni Heads Star Lineup in Irish Champion Stakes

September 9, 2022

Three “Win And You’re In” Automatic Starting Positions on the line in Leopardstown Races

LEOPARDSTOWN, IRELAND― Three exciting Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In races will be featured at Leopardstown on Saturday, with the Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes (G1) the standout event of an exceptional opening day of Irish Champions Weekend.

His Highness the Aga Khan’s dual G1 winner Vadeni (FR) will take on six rivals in a stellar renewal of the 1 ¼-mile Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes (G1). The winner will gain an automatic berth into the US$4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.

Two other “Win and You’re In” berths will also be awarded at Leopardstown. The winner of the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (G1) will earn an automatic position into the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), and the winner of the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2) will earn a free spot into the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

Vadeni, a 3-year-old son of Churchill (IRE), is looking for his third consecutive top-level victory this season. The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained stable star captured the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (G1) at Chantilly in June, before holding off a late challenge from the John & Thady Gosden-trained Mishriff (IRE) to land the Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown on July 2. They are set to go head-to-head again, with Mishriff last seen finishing second behind the outstanding Baaeed (GB) in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York.

Christophe Soumillon will once again partner Vadeni and said: “What Vadeni did at Sandown was amazing because it’s probably one of the UK’s toughest tracks, beating so many great horses with a lot of experience.”

Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s Champion Trainer, will saddle three runners in this contest. Stable jockey Ryan Moore takes the ride on G1 winner Luxembourg (IRE), the market favorite of the trio, after his successful return to action at The Curragh last month, winning the Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes (G3). The 3-year-old is joined by stablemates Stone Age (IRE) and Broome (IRE), who finished second in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.

The French challenge is strengthened by the Fabrice Chappet-trained Onesto (IRE). The 3-year-old son of Frankel (GB) was last seen winning the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) at ParisLongchamp on July 14.

The Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) winner, Alenquer (FR), trained by William Haggas and ridden by Tom Marquand, completes the field.

Homeless Songs bids for more Group 1 Success in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes

Moyglare Stud Farm’s Homeless Songs (IRE) heads a strong 11-runner field in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (G1). The winner of this race will earn an automatic starting position and fees paid into this year’s Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by Chris Hayes, Homeless Songs makes her long-awaited reappearance on the track after winning the Tattersalls 1000 Guineas (G1) in emphatic style at The Curragh on May 22.

Weld believes conditions at Leopardstown will suit his filly. He said: “I think being patient was the correct approach for her and long term I certainly think it will prove to be. She seems to be in great form at home and I’m looking forward to the race. The rain was very welcome this week. It’s a very, very good Group 1, an excellent race.”

Multiple Group 1 winner Saffron Beach (IRE), trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, leads the English challenge. Winner of the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, the 4-year-old held off Tenebrism to win the Prix Rothschild (G1) by 2½ lengths at Deauville last time out.

Tenebrism, winner of the Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat (G1) and Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (G1), is one of two runners for Aidan O’Brien, alongside the supplemented Concert Hall (IRE).

The Paddy Twomey-trained Pearls Galore (FR) narrowly missed out on winning this race last year when second behind No Speak Alexander (IRE). The 5-year-old returns to Leopardstown after finishing fifth in the Prix Rothschild (G1) last time out.

Other notable runners include Group 2 winners Agartha (IRE), trained by Joseph O’Brien, and Lights On (GB), trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

Star Juveniles put Credentials on the line in KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes

The “Win and You’re In” KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2) over 1 mile will award the first automatic starting berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The Aidan O’Brien-trained Auguste Rodin (IRE) heads the field of five runners. He will take on stable mate Tower Of London (IRE) and Jim Bolger’s runner Serious Challenge (IRE), who are all winners last time out.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winners of the Challenge Series winners to start at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a US$40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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