Eminent the value bet to upset Irish Champion Stakes favourite ChurchillPublished September 04, 2017
If the ante-post betting market on Saturday’s Qipco Irish Champion Stakes proves to be any guide the Aidan O’Brien-trained dual 2000 Guineas winner Churchill is expected to go one better than when finishing a two length runner-up behind Ulysses in York’s Group 1 Juddmonte International last month. All bookmakers now have the son of Galileo an odds-on chance for Leopardstown’s mile and a quarter contest, the exception being bet365 who offer evens about the likely mount of Ryan Moore.
With O’Brien being responsible for ten of the 44 horses still in contention for the race worth 712,500 euro to the winner, Tuesday’s declaration stage could see Churchill harden further in the betting should the master of Ballydoyle withdraw 7-1 second favourite Highland Reel who’s participation remains in the balance, of which O’Brien explained: “ We have yet to decide whether Highland Reel will run or not but Winter will also come in for consideration for the Irish Champion Stakes. She also has the option of the Matron. She’s in good form and there are plenty of options for her.”
One Ballydoyle entry who is set to join Churchill in the line-up is Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher ( 20-1 bet365 and Boylesports ) but with the likes of Ulysses, Poet’s Word, Barney Roy and Cracksman expected to head elsewhere the race could easily cut up tempting connections of recent Deauville winner and son of Frankel, Eminent, to make the trip to Ireland in an attempt to provide his illustrious sire with a first Group 1 victory.
Freddie Meade, assistant trainer to father Martyn, speaking following the three-year-old colt’s impressive French victory, said: “ He’s in very good order and it’s just which of the options we go for. There’s the Irish Champion or the Arc. I think the Champion Stakes at Ascot will be too late in the year. We don’t want to run him on bad ground. He’s ready to go and we’ll make a bit of a plan in the early part of next week.”
With the possibility that the race could cut up to only a handful of runners connections of Eminent may find the temptation of running hard to resist making the 10-1 currently available an enticing piece of each-way value.