Day 1 – Leopardstown

4.00pm Willis Towers Watson Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 3) 1m – Theobald

Aidan O’Brien is saddling three very well-bred colts in this. Kew Gardens improved greatly on his debut to win his second start by a comfortable four lengths, Delano Roosevelt was the stable third string when winning on his first start with subsequent Group 2 placed Coat Of Arms in second. Nelson, a son of Frankel and half-brother to US Army Ranger, was back in sixth that day and got off the mark at the third time of asking after being beaten by the reopposing Riyazan. However, I think all of these may well be playing second fiddle to Theobald who won on debut over 1m before being dropped back in trip subsequently. He has finished second on his last couple of starts behind the talented Actress over 6½f and most recently the extremely exciting prospect The Pentagon over 7f. Both of those races were Group 3s so we know he’s up to this level and with the step back up to a mile looking to be in his favour, I think he’s overpriced.

5.05pm KPMG Enterprise Stakes (Group 3) 1m4f – Eziyra

A field of seven go to post for this mile and a half contest in which the talented Eziyra can take the €59,000 prize. The daughter of Teofilo is yet to finish outside of the first three in all seven of her career starts. Form tying in with Sea Of Grace and Hydrangea last season is strong and even when Dermot Weld’s yard were out of form earlier this season she still managed to finish second in a Listed race and third in the Irish Oaks behind Enable. She won a Group 3 last time in very taking fashion and with Weld and Smullen back firing again the combo can take this contest for the fourth year in a row.

5.35pm Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (Group 1) 1m – Winter, Persuasive (EW)

This looks like a great race this year, littered with high class fillies. But Winter has looked to be in a different parish, since the 1,000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown at the start of the season she hasn’t looked back, winning four Group 1s in a row. I can’t make much of a case for the others really purely because of the fact that based on what we’ve seen, she’ll be adding another Group 1 to her tally. If you’re searching for an each way play in the race then I’d have a good look at Persuasive. She was second in the race last year, this ground will really suit her and her comeback run in the Prix Rothschild was very promising after such a long time off the track. John Gosden’s filly should come on from that and she might be the one to give Winter most to think about.

6.10pm Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes (Group 2) 1m – Alexios Komnenos

Sir John Lavery was a one time Derby hope for Ballydoyle, but was well-beaten in Lingfield’s Derby Trial and disappointed again over a mile and a half at Royal Ascot. A drop back down to a mile on slow ground last time saw him take his record to 2-2 over the distance. Suedois is an interesting one upped to a mile, but the one I like in the race is Alexios Komnenos. He has only had the four races so is still open to plenty of improvement and he won a Group 3 over course and distance last time. A really stand out piece of form is when he was just a neck behind Churchill on just his second start last season. If he keeps on progressing then I don’t see why he can’t improve past the likes of Sir John Lavery.

6.45pm QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f – Churchill, Zhukova (EW)

Another Aidan O’Brien hotpot here in the shape of dual classic winner Churchill. He ran what I thought was a very good race in the Juddmonte International last time out when stepped up to 1m2f for the first time. His below par effort in the St James’s Palace is still a bit puzzling, but one bad run can be forgiven. The Irish 2,000 Guineas was ran on what looked like ground with plenty of give underfoot so whatever conditions come up won’t be a problem for Churchill, to me this race looks weaker than the Juddmonte and he should be able to get back to winning ways. Again if you’re wanting to look for an each way angle, I wouldn’t put anyone off Zhukova. Her record with cut in the ground is exceptional and she won a Group 1 at Belmont earlier in the year easily. When her yard was out of form she ran a very respectable fourth in the Pretty Polly Stakes and could be set to run a big race here.

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