Gleneagles favourite to win six-nation Irish Champion

Epiphaneia - Japan Cup - 30/11/2014

Epiphaneia: Japan Cup winner could run at Leopardstown

  PICTURE: Masakazu Takhashi  

A GLITTERING entry dripping in international intrigue is giving best to two local stars as Gleneagles and Free Eagle have been installed as first and second favourite for the €1.1 million Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12.

Paddy Power’s first show after digesting the 60 entries for the Group 1 contest has no room for either the seven entries from Japan, six from France, one from Germany and a trailblazing entry from Australia.

Instead, dual Classic winner Gleneagles is Paddy Power’s 5-2 favourite as Ireland’s leading bookmaker believe his season will revolve around races over a narrow distance band.

Free Eagle, not seen since October, is second best at 7-2 with ante-post Investec Derby favourite Golden Horn a 4-1 shot then it’s 10-1 bar.

“We think that due to commercial reasons Gleneagles will be kept to a mile and ten furlongs,” said Paddy Power, “and the Champions weekend extravaganza looks tailor made for him.”

Japan’s septet includes Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia, rated the second best in the world in 2014, as well as One And Only, winner of last year’s Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby).

A statement from Leopardstown claimed Criterion would become a first horse trained in Australia to compete in Ireland should he take part. Trained by David Hayes, he has a verdict over Red Cadeaux to his credit, when winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April.

Closer to home, France could be represented by seven-time Group 1 winner Cirrus Des Aigles and Karakontie, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November. Germany’s entry is Guiliani, a lightly-raced Listed winner at Cologne on May 10.

Pat Keogh, chief executive at Leopardstown, said: “Last year five Group 1 winners took part in a thrilling contest when The Grey Gatsby just prevailed.

“We are delighted to see so many top-quality horses entered and it is particularly pleasing to see the international spread of entries including horses from Japan and Australia. The race is currently rated in the top ten in the world and this looks like being another vintage renewal.”

Irish Champion Stakes betting
Paddy Power: 5-2 Gleneagles, 7-2 Free Eagle, 4 Golden Horn, 10 The Grey Gatsby, Zawraq, 12 Al Kazeem, 14 Telescope, 20 Postponed


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