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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Feast on the Flat with St Leger, Irish Champions Weekend and Arc trials

Alpha Centauri: just one star attraction likely to run at the weekend
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Don't take your eye off the racing world this week, with the action building to a crescendo of top-class Group 1 racing at Doncaster, in Ireland and in France. Here's what to look out for over the next seven days.


The Listed Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes (3.20) is the standout contest on day two of the Listowel festival.

Charbel, last seen in the Champion Chase, makes his seasonal reappearance at Perth (3.45), with Brighton, Newton Abbot and Chelmsford completing a bustling line-up.

Kim Bailey's Charbel returns to action at Perth on Monday


The Listowel festival marches on, while there could be a few potential superstars lurking in small-field contests in Britain.

The Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral was highly touted and produced an eyecatching performance earlier in the season at Doncaster but has struggled since. The Equiano colt will be bidding to get back to winning ways against just two rivals in a conditions race (3.45) at Leicester. 

Jash, trained by Simon Crisford, was an impressive scorer on his debut at Newmarket and holds a Middle Park entry. He will try to make it two out of two at Salisbury (4.35).


The curtain rises on the opening day of Doncaster's St Leger meeting and, while the Leger Legends race (3.35) is ever-popular, the quality is likely to be found in the Listed Scarbrough Stakes (3.00).

Last year's Leger Legends pose with Lester Piggott, with this year's race run on Wednesday

Furthermore, a potential run by the lightly raced Willie John (4.40) is worth bearing in mind, particularly considering the unbeaten colt's Champion Stakes entry.

The Kerry National (4.20) will ensure the Listowel festival maintains its fair share of the racing headlines.

Kerry National day is always hugely popular at Listowel


It's ladies' day both on and off the track in Yorkshire on day two of Doncaster's St Leger meeting.

The May Hill and Park Hill Stakes, both Group 2, allow the fillies to grab the racing limelight, although the 6f £300,000 sales race (3.35) always sparks plenty of interest and will almost certainly have a maximum field.

Elsewhere, the Jump Jockeys' Derby (3.35) is a highlight at Epsom.


Doncaster again dominates, with Richard Spencer's Molecomb winner Rumble Inthejungle among a contingent of two-year-old speedballs set to contest the Flying Childers (2.25).

Flying Childers: Rumble Inthejungle could be one of the main contenders

The main event, the Doncaster Cup (3.35), could well be dominated by the Irish raiders, as Willie Mullins has three entries, while Aidan O'Brien could saddle Idaho.


This could prove one of the best days in the calendar year – and one of the longest, too, if you fancy getting up in the early hours to watch superstar filly Winx run in the Turnbull Stakes.

Doncaster reaches its climax with the final Classic, the William Hill St Leger (3.35). The Aidan O'Brien-trained Kew Gardens heads the market, with Irish Derby victor Latrobe and Godolphin's Old Persian other likely contenders.

Aidan O'Brien: set for a big weekend, as he so often is

And the drama continues when the first day of Irish Champions Weekend moves centre stage towards the end of the afternoon.

All eyes will be on super filly Alpha Centauri as she bids to capture a fabulous fifth Group 1 in a row in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (5.35).

The Qipco Irish Champion Stakes (6.45) is always right up there with the best races of the season. Juddmonte International winner Roaring Lion looks set to go off favourite, but old rival Saxon Warrior and French raider Study Of Man could test his mettle.

Roaring Lion is favourite for the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes


While the quality drops in Britain, it certainly does not in Ireland and in France, with the Arc trials taking place at Longchamp.

Irish Champions Weekend switches to the Curragh from Leopardstown and offers some fantastic Group 1 action.

The Irish St Leger and the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five provide top-class opportunities for older horses, but day two of Ireland's biggest Flat meeting is typically about the potential-laden two-year-old contests.

After all, future Classic winners often lurk in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (3.30) and the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (4.00).

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It could well prove to be one of the best days of racing in the calendar year and one of the longest too
E.W. Terms
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