The Irish Champion Stakes is unlikely to be run at a crawl, with Ballydoyle employing two possible pacemakers in the shape of Hunting Horn and Magic Wand. It’s easy to see why, given that both Magical and Anthony Van Dyck are proven over a mile and a half; Magical is a thoroughly likable filly but the market just about sums up her chance, whilst Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck needs to bounce back from a laboured effort in the King George last time. Elarqam ran a cracker in the Juddmonte International, supplemented for this on the back of that effort, but is another who the market looks to have got right, and preference is for the Roger Charlton-trained Headman. He is the horse in the field with the most untapped potential, winning a Newbury handicap before scoring twice in Group 2 company in France, doing well to overcome a steady gallop last time. A more truly-run race will suit him down to the ground and, though this represents another step up in grade, he is expected to prove up to the challenge.
Dermot Weld has won four of the last five renewals of the Group 3 over a mile and a half, due off at 15:40, and he looks to hold sound claims of adding to that tally with Broad Street. Successful on his first two starts, including in a minor event at Gowran in June, Broad Street acquitted himself really well up in grade in the Ballyroan Stakes last time, still showing signs of inexperience and meeting trouble just as the race began in earnest. That experience is unlikely to be lost on him and he boasts by far the most potential in this field.
It’s a typically competitive renewal of the Portland but one that can run well at a price is Makanah. He’s still pretty low mileage for a 4-y-o sprint handicapper and shaped well at York last time, left with quite a lot to do in relation to the other principals and meeting trouble on his way through. His draw in stall one isn’t ideal, but he’s usually delivered late so will likely be dropped out, ideal tactics given that a headwind is in the forecast. The extended five furlongs poses no problems and he’s fancied to run a big race.