Irish Champion Stakes Tips and Free Bets

Undoubtedly one of the late summer racing highlights of the year comes at Leopardstown in September. A stellar cast invariably assembles for the Irish Champion Stakes and here we provide our betting tips for the contest and highlight the best odds and offers available.

First run at Leopardstown in 1976, this 1m2f Group 1 contest now offers a whopping €712,500 to the winner! Although a race still in its infancy in relative terms, already this one has been won by some truly great horses.

Irish Champion Stakes Tips and Betting Offers, 4:15, 14th September 2019

Irish Champions Weekend is unique in that it is one meeting taking place at two different racecourses. Saturday’s action is held at Leopardstown where a very strong card is headlined by the Irish Champion Stakes. It’s a prestigious and lucrative Group 1 which is held over 1 mile 2 furlongs and this year’s field looks as strong as ever.

Magical Very Much the One to Beat

This is about as strong a field for the Irish Champion Stakes that you could hope to see. There is a real standout star though in the shape of Enable. Aidan O’Brien and the entire team at Ballydoyle are very big fans of their four-year-old filly who has earned nothing but respect from a trio of second place finishes heading into her trip to Leopardstown.

The first of those came at Royal Ascot where she was a beaten favourite after an almighty battle with Crystal Ocean in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Thereafter she chased home Enable, official the best horse in the world.

Magical showed in each of those defeats that she runs at an extremely high level and has bags of heart. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for her for giving her all to no avail but Saturday is her chance to shine.

Headman the Main Danger

The odds have Headman as the second favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes and for good reason. Roger Charlton’s three-year-old has done everything right this season since blowing away the cobwebs with a sixth place finish first up at Newbury.

Headman followed up victory at Newbury with a pair of highly impressive wins in France. As a three-year-old, he gets a 6lb allowance (that’s 3lbs from Magical) which is enough to keep the favourite honest. Whether it’s enough for him to win is another question.

Anthony Van Dyck Worthy of Another Chance

Anthony Van Dyck was a very impressive winner of the Derby which is something that can never be taken away from him. His subsequent performances have been far from impressive though and there’s a danger that the 2019 Derby will go down as a disappointment if he cannot kick on.

Many of his fans are content to make excuses for his inability to follow up his Epsom success at the Curragh and believe that the softer ground did for his chances of having any sort of impact in King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He caught the eye early on in his career and is certainly not one to write off just yet.

Betting Predictions

Magical is set to face a number of quality performers at Leopardstown on Saturday but she has the combination of class and experience to get the job done at a fairly generous price of 15/8 with bet365. It would be too much to say that Anthony Van Dyck is Magical’s main rival but he does appear overlooked for a place at a big 12/1 with RaceBets.

Irish Champion Stakes Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Roaring Lion – jockey Oisin Murphy, trainer John Gosden
  • 2017 – Decorated Knight – jockey Andre Atzeni, trainer Roger Charlton
  • 2016 – Almanzor – jockey Christophe Soumillon, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget
  • 2015 – Golden Horn – jockey Frankie Dettori, trainer John Gosden
  • 2014 – The Grey Gatsby – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Kevin Ryan
  • 2013 – The Fugue – jockey William Buick, trainer John Gosden
  • 2012 – Snow Fairy – jockey Frankie Dettori, trainer Ed Dunlop
  • 2011 – So You Think – jockey Seamie Heffernan, trainer Aidan O’Brien
  • 2010 – Cape Blanco – jockey Seamie Heffernan, trainer Aidan O’Brien
  • 2009 – Sea The Stars – jockey Michael Kinane, trainer John Oxx
  • 2008 – New Approach – jockey Kevin Manning, trainer Jim Bolger
  • 2007 – Dylan Thomas – jockey Kieren Fallon, trainer Aidan O’Brien
  • 2006 – Dylan Thomas – jockey Kieren Fallon, trainer Aidan O’Brien

Top Trainers, Jubilant Jockeys and Race History

Having made its debut in the 1976, this contest may not be anything like the oldest Group 1 race of the year. But it has quickly come to be one of the most sought after mile and a quarter prizes of the season. Helped in large part by the excellent prize money on offer, a stellar field is all but guaranteed.

The “Iron Horse” Giant’s Causeway, Breeders Cup and Epsom Derby hero, High Chaparral, globe-trotting So You Think and super filly Snow Fairy all feature on a roll of honour packed with racing superstars.

The greatest of them all though is the 2009 winner Sea The Stars who was a perfect six from six in his three year old campaign and became the first horse ever to win the 2000 Guineas, Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season.

Whilst here have been many outstanding winners of this race over the years, only one horse has managed to take home the prize on more than one occasion. That horse was the brilliant son of Danehill, Dylan Thomas, who also counted wins in the Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe amongst his career victories.

Trainers and Jockeys

The legendary Vincent O’Brien enjoyed an excellent record in this race, with the most famous of his five winners being the greatest sire of them all, Sadler’s Wells. Vincent has, however, been toppled from his perch atop the training table by his fellow Irishman and namesake Aidan O’Brien. The 2011 victory of So You Think being the master of Ballydoyle’s seventh win in all.

Michael Kinane was the man aboard O’Brien’s 2000 and 2003 winners Giant’s Causeway and High Chaparral. Having also successfully teamed up with John Oxx twice, Sir Michael Stoute twice and Michael Jarvis in this race, Kinane’s seven wins in total put him out in front amongst the jockeys.

Open to all runners aged three and older, it is the three year olds who have tasted the most success here. Swain became the oldest winner in the history of the race when scoring for Godolphin in 1998 as a six year old. However, prior to the 2017 Irish Champion Stakes, the youngsters had taken 21 of the 41 renewals.