Japanese star to shine

Japanese star to shine

Oisin Murphy

Oisin Murphy insists Japanese star Deirdre could not be in better form ahead of the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday.

She will attempt to enhance her burgeoning international reputation as she becomes her country’s first runner in Ireland.

The Mitsuru Hashida-trained mare impressed with her courageous Nassau Stakes victory at Glorious Goodwood last month.

Murphy was on board at Goodwood, where he took over from Yutaka Take, who rode Deirdre on her European debut when sixth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at a soggy Ascot, and says he is looking forward to being reunited with the daughter of Harbinger.

Deirdre was declared for the eight-runner renewal, in which her rivals include Elarqam, Anthony Van Dyck, Headman and Madhmoon. 

“I sat on her on Tuesday morning and she was in really good order,” said Murphy, whose victory in last year’s Irish Champion Stakes on Roaring Lion was one of only two as a professional in his homeland.

“Hopefully, the weather is kind and she gets fast ground. If she does, then I think she can run well. This is the obvious race to go for after Goodwood and she couldn’t be in better form. It is one of the best races in Europe and it means a lot to me to have won it.”

With the Irish Champion scheduled for 17.15 on Saturday to avoid a clash with the All Ireland football final replay at Croke Park, Murphy has had to give up on plans to ride Dashing Willoughby in the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.

But bringing the €1.25 million feature forward to a quarter past midnight Tokyo time means Japan’s fanatical racing fans will be able to watch Deirdre’s challenge in even greater numbers.

Murphy knows Japanese racing well after a three-month stint last season, and added: “It’s amazing. There will be screens showing the race live in Japan, which is great, and I can foresee lots of Japanese racing fans going to Leopardstown to see her. It’s really exciting.” 

Meanwhile Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck will attempt to redeem his reputation at Leopardstown.

Since his famous day at Epsom, Anthony Van Dyck has been beaten by stablemate Sovereign in the Irish Derby and been unplaced in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth at Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien fields an extremely strong team of four on Saturday, with the top-class Magical also lining up. Hunting Horn and Magic Wand complete the Ballydoyle quartet.

There is some serious strength in depth against the Coolmore battalion , however, with Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon still seeking a first Group One win after being narrowly denied at Epsom.

Mark Johnston has supplemented Elarqam, in the same Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum ownership as Madhmoon, after an unfortunate run at York last time out.

Last but not least is Roger Charlton’s improving Headman, winner of two Group Twos in France this season. – Racingpost.com, attheraces.com

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