The jnwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal was the launching pad for the great Kauto Star’s Cheltenham Gold Cup victory in March.
And trainer Paul Nicholls will use the same tried and tested route for the double Cheltenham Gold Cup winner this time around.
Kauto Star will have a crack at the jnwine.com Champion Chase on November 7, the second day of the two-day Northern Ireland Festival of Racing, which was launched yesterday in Belfast.
Changingoftheguard won the Ulster Derby at Down Royal in June and next Saturday is third favourite to land the St Leger, one of the five classics.
Top television racing pundit Derek Thompson has followed the progress of the horse closely.
“Changingoftheguard has a very good chance — he could win it which would be another feather in the cap for Down Royal,” said Channel 4’s ‘Tommo’. “He was very unlucky in the Ebor at York last month — he gave the others too good a start,” he added.
Galway Plate winner Ballyholland has been another Down Royal success story, winning the Galway Plate Trial at the course before going on to land the big one at this summer’s Galway Festival.
“Ballyholland’s tale is incredible. The horse cost £2,000 which is next to nothing in racing terms. Then he goes on to lift 146,000 Euros for winning the Galway Plate,” said Tommo.
Next month will see the 10th running of the jnwine.com Champion Chase, with past winners having included Beef Or Salmon, Looks Like Trouble and Florida Pearl.