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Two big chances as Sheikh Hamdan eyes Irish Champion again


Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has two live contenders in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown - where Elarqam and Madhmoon will sport his famous blue and white silks.

Not since John Gosden's Muhtarram provided him with a second win in the race in 1993 have the colours been carried to success in Saturday's race.

In Derby runner-up Madhmoon and the supplemented Elarqam, who was third in the Juddmonte International at York, he has two realistic chances.

His racing manager Angus Gold said: "We obviously already had one legitimate contender for the race in Madhmoon, but Sheikh Hamdan and (trainer) Mark (Johnston) both felt it would be a long time between races if we waited for the English Champion with Elarqam, and who knows what could happen between now and then?

"I was very impressed with Elarqam at York, and if we'd ridden him a bit handier I don't think he would have been far away.

"The front two quickened away - he was a bit further back than ideal and didn't get a clear run. I'm not saying he would have won but for that, but he could have gone pretty close if things had been different.

"(Trainer) Kevin (Prendergast) is very happy with Madhmoon, and this is the obvious race for him. I personally think a mile and a quarter will end up being his best trip, but I know (jockey) Chris Hayes feels he could even end up back at a mile.

"I think it's very hard to pick between the two of them. I think Madhmoon might have more speed than Elarqam, and is possibly the quicker horse - but whether he's a better horse or not, it's hard to say."

Veteran trainer Prendergast is seeking his first win in the race and told "I couldn't be happier with the shape he is in. As for his ideal trip, with his form in the Classics this year, it would be hard to say - but certainly 10 furlongs won't be a problem.

"The race the last day served its purpose. It was good to see him drop back to a mile and show the pace to win over that trip. I don't think tactics will matter either."

Aidan O'Brien has four runners, including Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck, but the filly Magical appears to have a more consistent profile - she just unfortunately keeps bumping into Enable.

"We've been very happy with Magical since she ran at York," said O'Brien.

"The plan was always to go to York, then go to the Irish Champion - and if all goes well, then go to the Arc. We have been very happy with her since, and she came out the race very well.

"Anthony Van Dyck is in good order. His last run was a non-event, because they probably went a bit quick and the ground was a bit soft."

Hunting Horn and Magic Wand also represent Ballydoyle.

Roger Charlton's Headman has been improving at a rate of knots and has won two Group Twos in France this summer.

"It is a big jump up in class, but I've been pleased with the horse," said Charlton.

"It is really the only race to run in, because there are no more three-year-old-only races - and having won two Group Twos, there is no point giving weight away in another Group Two.

"I don't think either of the French races suited him. I think the course and the style of the race will suit him better, and I think a quicker surface is what he wants.

"I assume there will also be a better pace, and they won't go like they did in France last time out. He is a long-striding horse, and you don't want to be breaking that stride.

"I think this horse is one for the future, and I'm sure he will keep improving. I think he will be better next year."

Adding further spice to the race is the Japanese contender Deirdre, who will be ridden by Oisin Murphy - just as she was to win the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

"I sat on her on Tuesday, and she felt super, but it's a very very good race," said Murphy.

"I think Magical looks the one to beat, no doubt, but she goes there with a good chance.

"At Goodwood she was back to her best, after she'd run disappointingly on her British debut at Ascot - so we'll see what she's made of."


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Tuesday 22 October
Daniel Tudhope silk Daniel Tudhope
David O'Meara
2. STAXTON 112
David Allan silk David Allan
Tim Easterby
11. SALUTI (IRE) 111
Luke Morris silk Luke Morris
Paul Midgley cold trainer
Go to Full Race



1st Barry McHugh silk 5. ROYAL SANDS (FR) 10/111
2nd Harrison Shaw silk 4. MARVEL 11/43.75
3rd P. J. McDonald silk 8. TEASE MAID 7/24.5
J: Barry McHugh  
T: James Given  
8 ran. NRs: 2 


1st Ben Curtis silk 14. RISK MITIGATION (USA) 5/23.5f
2nd Seamus Cronin silk ½ 2. CAPE AGULHAS (IRE) 22/123
3rd Megan Nicholls silk 11. KEITH 14/115
J: Ben Curtis  
T: David Evans  
13 ran. NRs: 8 


1st S. P. Davis silk 9. JAZZ HANDS (IRE) 10/111
2nd Kieran O'Neill silk 7. ATALANTA QUEEN 4/15
3rd Tom Eaves silk 4. ALMOKHTAAR (USA) 14/115
J: S. P. Davis (3)  
All 11 ran.


1st Duran Fentiman silk 3. SUITCASE 'N' TAXI 6/17
2nd Jonathan Fisher silk 4. BREAK THE SILENCE 1/12f
3rd Zak Wheatley silk hd 5. BEE MACHINE (IRE) 4/15
T: Tim Easterby  
8 ran. NRs: 8 


1st Alistair Rawlinson silk 2. YOUNG JOHN (IRE) 9/25.5
2nd Nathan Evans silk sh 3. AIRGLOW (IRE) 10/34.33f
3rd Cam Hardie silk 4 7. LIAMBA 10/111
T: Mike Murphy  
9 ran. NRs: 10 


1st Ben Curtis silk 8. FINERY 1/12f
2nd Luke Morris silk 6. CAPLA CUBISTE 12/113
3rd Stevie Donohoe silk hd 3. LONDON CALLING (IRE) 4/15
J: Ben Curtis  
T: K. R. Burke  
All 8 ran.


1st Andrew Mullen silk 7. YOUNG TIGER 13/27.5
2nd Josephine Gordon silk 2. ARZAAK (IRE) 5/16
3rd Nathan Evans silk ns 4. PIAZON 4/15f
T: Tom Tate  
All 10 ran.


1st Faye McManoman silk 5. OUR LITTLE PONY 9/110
2nd Robert Havlin silk ½ 3. HAWAAM (IRE) 11/112
3rd Paul Hanagan silk 7. MILITIA 3/14f
J: Faye McManoman (5)  
All 13 ran.


1st Harry Bannister silk 6. JONJOELA (IRE) 2/13
2nd Mr Tommie M. O'Brien silk 4 3. LUCK OF THE LEGION (IRE) 7/42.75f
T: Alex Hales  
7 ran. NRs: 5 
Go to Horse Racing Results