Weights: 3yr 9 stone 4yr+ 9 stone 7lbs, 3lbs allowance for fillies and mares (57.15kg, 60.32kg, 1.36kg approx)
Distance: 1 mile 2 furlongs (approx. 2012 metres)
Course Record: 2:01.80 Azamour 2004 Leopardstown (race held at Phoenix Park 1984 to 1990)
Track: Turf, left handed
Track Bias: Bias isn’t an issue as the track gives every horse a chance. It is almost an oval 2 straight and 2 curves track except for a slight left turn in the middle of the final straight. Most races are run to the traditional pattern where the on pace stalkers overhaul the leaders in the final straight, although it is possible to win by leading as Cape Blanco proved in 2010. He was trained by Aidan O’Brien, the most successful trainer for this race to date.
History: First being run in 1976 as the Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes in recognition of the contribution of the founder of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstake. From 1984 to 1990 it was known as the Phoenix Champion Stake and on its return to Leopardstown in 1991 it became the Irish Champion Stakes. Many horses have completed the double after winning The Irish Derby and some have collected the Epsom Derby as well. The most successful winner of this race so far has been Irish Derby winner Dylan Thomas in 2006. In 2007 he won again after collecting the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and then went on to win the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. While many horses go to Europe to continue their campaigns, some head to America for the rich pickings to be had in the Breeders Cup Carnival with Daylami 1999, Fantastic Light 2001 and High Chaparal 2002 & 2003 winning the Breeders Cup Turf. Since 2009 the race has been part of the Breeders Cup Challenge giving winners of The Irish Champion Stakes automatic entry.
Past Winners: Cape Blanco 2010 (Irish Derby), Sea The Stars 2009 (Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe), High Chaparal 2003 (Breeders Cup Turf, Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe), Fantastic Light 2001 (Dubai Sheema Classic, The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Breeders Cup Turf).
Statistics & Trends: Only Dylan Thomas has won the race twice, jockey Michael Kinane has 7 wins to his credit and Aiden O’Brien has 6 wins as trainer. Godolphin and Mike Tabor are level as most successful owners on 5 wins each. 5 females have won the race but none since Timarida in 1996.
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