Five horses that caught the eye on Irish Champions Weekend

By Harry Allwood@harry_allwood
Tue 14 Sep 2021

Harry Allwood paid close attention to the racing action at Leopardstown and the Curragh over the weekend and pinpoints five defeated horses who he believes it will pay to follow.

What a weekend. The 2021 Longines Irish Champions Weekend certainly didn't disappoint and the racegoers who returned to Leopardstown and the Curragh witnessed some spectacular performances.

Racing TV presenter Angus McNae had some strong views on the likes of St Mark's Basilica and Native Trail in The Verdict on Racing TV on Monday and if you didn't manage to watch Angus provide his expert insight and analysis, the show will be available to view on on Tuesday.

There were also a number of horses who caught the eye in defeat over the two days - including a "desperately unlucky" loser that Angus discussed in The Verdict - and below are five who it could pay to follow. Make sure you add them to your Racing TV Tracker!


Click here to add Buckaroo into your Racing TV Tracker.

Race: Sixth in the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (1.10pm Leopardstown, Saturday)

Buckaroo shaped much better than the bare result in this Group Two contest having missed the break before suffering traffic problems.

Joseph O’Brien’s two-year-old was settled towards the rear after a sluggish start and was upsides the winner turning for home when the pair began to make their challenges.

However, Buckaroo was unable to get a clear run due to Atomic Jones closing the door on him and he also suffered interference in the final 100 yards.

Described as a “massive horse” by connections, the youngster was unable to get organised and balanced again after the incident but finished with running left in him and, with a clear run, would have certainly given Ger Lyons’ charge something to think about.

Buckaroo has shown bundles of promise on all three of his starts and pulled clear with Stone Age – who finished second in this contest on Saturday – when successful at Galway in July.

Although he is by star sprinter Fastnet Rock, he is out of a 1m4f Listed winner plus is a half-brother to Thousand Oaks, who also scored over 12 furlongs, so there is a good chance he will stay further than a mile in time.

I would not be surprised if he is aimed at a Group One next time out, with the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster on October 23 a potential target.


Click here to add Mother Earth into your Racing TV Tracker.

Race: Third in the Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes (1.40pm Leopardstown, Saturday)

George Baker and Angus McNae analyse an eventful Matron Stakes

There was plenty of controversy following this contest on Saturday after Mother Earth was denied a clear run in the home straight, and it is fair to say she was an unlucky loser.

The dual Group One winner travelled powerfully under Ryan Moore and, as the head-on footage shows in the video above, his mount was blocked numerous times plus was unable to get into top gear.

I think it is hard to argue that Aidan O’Brien’s 1000 Guineas winner would not have got her head in front with a clear run and she is yet to finish out of the first three in her past eight starts at the highest level, so deserves to gain compensation for this luckless effort before the end of the season.

The Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 2 is an obvious target and, having finished runner-up at the Breeders' Cup last year, I expect that meeting will be on her agenda again in November.


Click here to add Horoscope into your Racing TV Tracker.

Race: Third in the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile (2.10pm Leopardstown, Saturday)

This three-year-old has gradually progressed this season and produced a career best to finish a never-nearer third on his first start at Group level here.

Still in last with a furlong to run, he was forced to challenge widest of all before charging home and was rapidly closing on the first two home inside the final 100 yards.

The son of No Nay Never was successful in a Listed contest on his previous start where he easily defeated Masen, who landed a valuable handicap at Leopardstown on Saturday, and this run proves he is capable of being competitive at this higher level.

Although he can race lazily - he can also start slowly - there is no doubting his ability and, bar a couple of blips, he has been a consistent performer. He is worth keeping an eye out for over the coming weeks.


Click here to add Bopedro into your Racing TV Tracker.

Race: Third in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund 'Sovereign Path' (Premier Handicap) (4.20pm Leopardstown, Saturday)

Jessica Harrington seems to have found the key to this five-year-old who wore a first-time visor when recording a surprise victory in the Irish Cambridgeshire in August, and a 9lb rise did not stop Bopedro going close again in this fiercely competitive handicap.

After a slightly sluggish start, he was a shade outpaced in last and challenged wide before staying on strongly to be beaten less than a length, and the drop back to seven furlongs was probably against him.

All things considered, he was an unlucky loser as he made up an abundance of ground in the home straight from his unpromising position and would have been in front in another 50 yards.

Given his hold-up style, he will need luck in running to get his head in front again, but he is a progressive handicapper and it would be no surprise if he was able to be competitive at Listed level, based upon his past two efforts.


Click here to add Rohaan into your Racing TV Tracker.

Race: Fifth in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (2.55pm Curragh, Sunday)

Having won a handicap off a rating of 55 in December last year, Rohaan has improved enormously since joining David Evans and, despite disappointing on his first two starts at Group One level this summer, his effort in the Flying Five on Sunday signalled he is capable of landing a race at the highest level.

His chances appeared to be over after he lost many lengths leaving the stalls and was detached in last until two furlongs from home. However, it was quite remarkable how he managed to claw back the deficit and finish strongly into fifth behind Romantic Proposal.

All roads will now surely lead to the Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 16 which he is a best-priced 9-1 for, with the extra furlong there certain to suit.

Having won the Wokingham on soft at Royal Ascot, the likelihood of cut in the ground on Champions Day will not be a hinderance and, provided he doesn’t fluff the start, he should be competitive.

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