French Derby hero Study Of Man set for Irish Champion bid
Study Of Man will add considerable lustre to the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown next Saturday after connections decided to foresake home comforts in the Prix Niel in order to take on Roaring Lion, Saxon Warrior and company.
Study Of Man will run just an hour and ten minutes after his owner-breeders the Niarchos family send out their star miler Alpha Centauri in the Coolmore-sponsored Matron Stakes on the same Leopardstown card.
Having landed the Qipco Prix du Jockey Club on just his fourth career start in June, Study Of Man – who, like Saxon Warrior, is by Japanese stallion sensation Deep Impact – looked somewhat rusty on his return to action when third in the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano last month.
But a specially arranged piece of work in Chantilly on Wednesday, which was conducted the 'wrong' way around Les Aigles, has given trainer Pascal Bary and Niarchos-retained jockey Stephane Pasquier confidence that their Chantilly hero is back to his best.
Speaking from Kentucky on Friday, racing manager Alan Cooper said: "The news out of the gallop is very good. Pascal is delighted with Study Of Man and after discussing the options with the owners, Pascal and Stephane yesterday evening the plan is to go to Leopardstown.
"We got permission from France Galop to go left-handed, which is the same direction as Leopardstown, and all went very well. Stephane was very pleased with how the horse had progressed from Deauville. In hindsight we left him a bit underdone and he really did need the race and we're looking forward to Leopardstown."
Study Of Man was a best-priced 12-1 for the Irish Champion on Friday morning, while he is a 20-1 shot for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe three weeks later.
Reflecting on the fact that Study Of Man and Alpha Centauri would both be appearing on the same card, which kicks off the two-day Longines Irish Champions Weekend, Cooper added: "It will be very exciting and we are very fortunate to be at that level at this moment."
Saxon Warrior was confirmed a runner in the 1m2f Leopardstown event by Aidan O'Brien on Friday.
The trainer said: "The plan is to run Saxon Warrior in the Irish Champion once we're happy with him next week. He's in good form and all has gone well with him since his run in the Juddmonte International."
After finishing second in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, the 2,000 Guineas winner was found to have succumbed to the bug which affected most of the Ballydoyle team and O'Brien expects him to come on from his run at York where he finished fourth behind Roaring Lion.
O'Brien also indicated that 2016 Gold Cup winner Order Of St George may have run his last race, describing the six-year-old as "more unlikely than likely" to make the line-up for the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh a week on Sunday.
Order Of St George, who won the Curragh Classic in 2015 and 2017, has not run since finishing fourth behind Stradivarius in the Gold Cup in June.
O'Brien said: "It's more unlikely than likely that Order Of St George will run at the Curragh and if he doesn't make it he will probably be retired. He has a lot of mileage on the clock and we've been minding him.
"Flag Of Honour and Idaho will run in the race and we might run a few others."
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