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Embracing Equestrian Excellence: The Upcoming Irish Champions Festival


Down the stretch at The Curragh

Date: 09/05/2023

As we head into a September filled with sporting spectacles from around the world and headlined by the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, the Irish Champions Festival is set to grace the horse racing arena on the 9th and 10th of September. Now renamed from its previous title, the Irish Champions Weekend, this year marks the 10th installment of this grand horse racing festival, and anticipation is building as the UK's finest horses head to Leopardstown and The Curragh to battle for supremacy headlined by the Royal Bahrain Champion Stakes.

A Decade of Ascending Triumphs

Casting our eyes back to 2014, despite the then-recent economic downturn, the Irish Champions Weekend was introduced as a resounding statement, announcing Ireland's return to a prominent position in the global horse racing hierarchy. Skip forward to today, and the transformation of the event into the Irish Champions Festival has helped reignite widespread anticipation that has garnered significant attention, drawn top-tier horses, and illuminated the intrinsic value of horse racing as both a sport and an industry in Ireland.

As a result, a host of esteemed sponsors now enhances the allure of the festival. Day One at Leopardstown will see the likes of major names like Paddy Power, Ballylinch and Coolmore Stud Farms all lending their support. The second day at the Curragh will feature sponsorships from Goffs, Al Basti Equiworld, Tattersalls, and many more.

For punters eager to delve deeper into the upcoming event and potentially amplify their excitement during the Irish Champions Festival, platforms like Cheekypunter, recognized among the best online horse racing betting sites in the UK, provide valuable insights. Offering analysis on odds, race strategies, and historical data, Cheekypunter serves as a reliable resource for those interested in making informed decisions while engaging with the festival's main races.

A Look Ahead at the Irish Champions Festival

The transformation from Irish Champions Weekend to the Irish Champions Festival reflects a trend in the industry. Galway, Punchestown, Leopardstown, and the Curragh have all embraced the fusion of music and entertainment with horse racing to give the festival a new feeling that is aimed at engaging a wider audience while maintaining the essence of top-quality horse racing.

The festival's showpiece race, the Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes, will miss the presence of the French sensation Ace Impact due to his focus on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Nevertheless, the Juddmonte International winner Mostahdaf and the German Derby champion Fantastic Moon will be present and will undoubtedly be well-backed in Leopardstown while Aidan O'Brien's formidable duo of Auguste Rodin and last year's winner, Luxembourg, add a local flair to the proceedings.

Eldar Eldarov, the reigning St Leger Champ, will be looking to earn the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on Day Two of the Irish Champions Festival after his recent mishap en route to the Curragh Group 3 Leger Trial, which led to his withdrawal. Roger Varian will be bringing King Of Steel to the track for the Irish Champions Stakes on Day One, while the star stayer will also feature 24 hours later in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger. Sakheer, another contender trained by Varian, showcased his ability as last year's Mill Reef winner and demonstrated resilience despite a modest performance in the 2000 Guineas.

As the Irish Champions Festival approaches, punters can look forward to a fusion of top-tier racing, entertainment, and tradition that embodies the heart and soul of Ireland's deep-rooted horse racing heritage.

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