Thomas 11/10 for back-to-back Champions

DYLAN THOMAS is a short-priced favourite to record back-to-back victories in Saturday’s Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, with several of his potential rivals already dropping by the wayside.

Cashmans have installed Aidan O’Brien’s colt the 11-10 favourite for the 10-furlong Group One contest in the belief his stablemate George Washington will not line up and will instead go for a race in France.

Dylan Thomas, the impressive winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, has not finished out of the first two in six starts this season but was beaten a length by Epsom Derby winner Authorized in the Juddmonte International at York.

Authorized’s name was also among the 10 entries at the five-day stage but an oversight at the Peter Chapple-Hyam office was to blame and he remains on target for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe instead.

Chapple-Hyam said: “It was a mistake – I hold my hands up and I will not be declaring him. Authorized is fine, but he won’t be running before the Arc.”

O’Brien is left with his customary strong hand to choose from in an event he has lifted three times in the last four years.

The master of Ballydoyle has half of the possible runners, with Archipenko, Duke Of Marmalade and Red Rock Canyon also possibilities.

Dylan Thomas’ closest market rival with Cashmans is the sole filly, Jim Bolger’s dual Guineas heroine Finsceal Beo, not seen since disappointing in the Coronation at Royal Ascot, but who has been chalked up at 5-2 despite having an entry in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes on the same day.

Maraahel, the multiple Group winner who came third to Dylan Thomas in the King George, may continue his bid for an elusive victory at the highest level.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan, said: “I spoke to (trainer) Sir Michael Stoute on Saturday and he said the plan was to keep him in the Irish Champion and have a look at the entries. That is still the case.

“He’s a possible runner as he’s still in the race, but I will need to discuss things with the owner and trainer.”

It is a similar scenario for Brian Meehan’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Red Rocks, who on his latest start was fourth behind Manduro in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes when Dylan Thomas was second.

“There’s a good chance he’ll run, but we will decide later in the week,” said Jamie McCalmont, racing manager to Red Rocks’ owner Paul Reddam.

“His target has always been the Breeders’ Cup again at the end of the year, but he will need a prep-race for it somewhere.”

Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes

Cashmans bet: 11-10 Dylan Thomas, 5-2 Finsceal Beo, 11-2 Duke Of Marmalade, 6-1 Maraahel, Red Rocks, 25-1 Archipenko, 50-1 Mullins Bay, 250-1 Red Rock Canyon.

Doubtful: Authorized and George Washington.

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