Roaring Lion and Alpha Centauri among star cast at Leopardstown

Thu 13 Sep 2018

Roaring Lion will face seven rivals in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

John Gosden’s colt lines up in search of a third successive Group One victory after following up his narrow victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown with a dominant display in the Juddmonte International at York last month.

Roaring Lion is once again taken on by Saxon Warrior, who had the British challenger back in fifth when winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

However, Gosden’s charge was ahead of the Aidan O’Brien-trained runner in the Investec Derby, touched him off at Sandown and was in a different league at York little over three weeks ago.

Saxon Warrior is one of four runners for O’Brien as the Ballydoyle handler bids for a record eighth Irish Champion Stakes success.

His other contenders are Deauville, Rhododendron and Athena.

Almanzor struck for France two years ago and there is another major hope from across the Channel in Pascal Bary’s French Derby winner Study Of Man.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Verbal Dexterity from Jim Bolger’s yard complete the line-up.

Meanwhile, Alpha Centauri is the star attraction in a seven-strong field for the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on the same card.

Jessica Harrington’s three-year-old has arguably been the star of the season so far, winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Coronation Stakes, the Falmouth Stakes and the Prix Jacques le Marois.

The daughter of Mastercraftsman will be a red-hot favourite to extend her Group One tally to five on the opening day of Irish Champions Weekend.

Aidan O’Brien has whittled his team down to three, with Clemmie, Happily and Magical all declared.

Karl Burke’s triple Group One winner Laurens makes her Irish debut and is joined on the trip from Britain by Mick Channon’s Dan’s Dream, although she is also declared to run at Doncaster on Friday.

Lightening Quick, trained by Johnny Murtagh, completes the line-up.

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