Ulysses to get the better of Churchill again in Irish Champion Stakes

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There’s just over a week to go until the Irish Champion Stakes and we think this year’s renewal is more competitive than ever.

Run over 1m2f at Leopardstown on 9 September, a strong field is set to go to post as the flat season nears its conclusion.

In the ante-post betting it’s Juddmonte International Stakes first and second Ulysses and Churchill that are the market leaders.

Despite coming up short in the Juddmonte and the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, Churchill remains the favourite.

While his last two performances have been unsatisfactory the colt’s class and form on home soil cannot be ignored.

Aiden O’Brien’s three-year-old has won on five of his last six starts in Ireland.

And that includes an impressive 2½l success at the Curragh in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in May.

However, he’s yet to win over 1m2f and trainer O’Brien has not landed this renewal since 2011.

For that reason we’re siding with ULYSSES.

Sir Michael Stoute’s four-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic year.

Success in the Coral Eclipse was followed up by a 2l victory over young pretenders Churchill and Barney Roy in the Juddmonte International.

With Jim Crowley in the saddle the Irish-bred raider has been almost unbeatable this season.

What’s more, unlike Churchill he has proven time and time again that he can handle the distance.

Another four-year-old who may be worth a look is Deauville.

The second O’Brien runner in this race has to be considered following a fine season.

Deauville has excelled in Group 3 Company and put up a good fight before losing by 1l to Ulysses in May’s Gordon Richards Stakes.

The son of Galileo has the credentials to mount a challenge and is better than his ante-post odds suggest.

Don’t rule out Highland Reel either.

Third favourite he may be, but O’Brien’s five-year-old has won big races in the past and still has the talent to do so.

Soft ground in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes wasn’t to his liking in July.

But with conditions in his favour and at his favourite distance it’d be unwise to ignore a horse with an enviable mount of black-type on his CV.

Click here for the latest Irish Champion Stakes odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.