Cirrus Des Aigles in frame for Irish Champion

Cirrus Des Aigles could have a first run in Ireland next month ahead of his intended outing in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Cirrus Des Aigles in frame for Irish Champion

Corine B arande-Barbe’s decorated nine-year-old is close to a return from injury, with the Group One Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12 identified as a comeback date.

Should all go to plan, Cirrus Des Aigles will then gear up for the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 17 – a race he has contested for the last four seasons, winning once in 2011.

Barande-Barbe said: “Cirrus Des Aigles is recovering well from his injury and is on schedule to run in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown as a prep race for the Champion Stakes at Ascot, with the Prix Dollar a possibility in between the two.”

The Champion Stakes at Ascot has attracted 46 entries, including Golden Horn, Postponed, Time Test, The Grey Gatsby and Gleneagles.

The latter also holds an entry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which has lured 36 possible contenders, including French ace Solow.

Trainer Freddy Head, who won the race 12 months ago with Charm Spirit, said: “Solow is very well and he has come out of last week’s victory in the Sussex Stakes looking beautiful.

“The plan is to wait for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes now – it will not matter if it rains in October.”

The Qipco British Champions Sprint could feature two former winners – Gordon Lord Byron (2014) and Maarek (2012) – while sprint specialist Eddie Lynam has entered Anthem Alexander, Fort Del Oro and Gathering Power.

Trainer Charlie Hills holds the key to the home challenge, with stable star Muhaarar potentially joined by three other runners, Magical Memory, Strath Burn and Cotai Glory.

The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup contains 50 entries, including last year’s winner Forgotten Rules and reigning Ascot Gold Cup hero Trip To Paris.

Clever Cookie is also in the hat for Peter Niven, who said: “This year we will go with a fresh horse and hopefully go with a big chance.”

The Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes could see last season’s winner Madame Chiang, trained by David Simcock, attempt to do the double as she features amongst 52 entries.

A whopping £4.1million in prize-money will this autumn be up for grabs on Qipco British Champions Day.

  • Meanwhile Tony McCoy and Johnny Murtagh will both ride in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Stakes at Doncaster next month.

The charity Flat race, run for the sixth consecutive year, will take place on the first day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival on September 9 and looks set to attract more attention than ever before, with the recently-retired 20-times champion jockey McCoy taking star billing.

Former leading Flat jockey turned trained Murtagh will also be in a field of 16 ex-jockeys for a race run over Doncaster’s straight mile in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College.

Tim Adams, chairman of the Leger Legends committee, said: “The Leger Legends race has been a great success for the past five years raising over £500,000 for the Northern Racing College and the Injured Jockeys Fund, Jack Berry House.

“We are hopeful that this year’s event will surpass all expectations with the visit of HRH The Princess Royal for the second time adding to the presence of AP McCoy and Johnny Murtagh in the race itself, which it is going to be the best yet.”

Dale Gibson, who is the Professional Jockeys Association’s Industry Liaison Officer and helps with the organisation of the day, said: “I am delighted that we have secured the services of AP McCoy and Johnny Murtagh to add to the list of leading jockeys to have ridden in the Leger Legends.

“The only charity race in the UK to be run under the Rules of Racing continues to gather momentum and has become the feature on the opening day of the Leger Festival.

“Not only does the race bring people together for a terrific social occasion, but it raises funds and awareness for Jack Berry House and the NRC.

“I would personally like to thank all the jockeys for giving up their time and getting fit again for this wonderful day.”

Gibson joins McCoy and Murtagh in the race along with the likes of Jim Culloty, Kevin Darley, George Duffield and At The Races presenter Luke Harvey.

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