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Cirrus camp look to skies

Cirrus Des Aigles will need some give underfoot at Leopardstown if he is to take his chance in Saturday's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes.

The French star began the season as the highest-rated horse in the world but has been beaten favourite on his four starts in 2013, most recently in the Grand Prix de Deauville towards the end of last month.

Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said: "The owner wants to wait and see whether there is going to be any rain in Ireland, so we have left him in the race once more. If there is plenty of rain then he will run, but if there is no rain he will not. If he does not run, he will run in the Prix Dollar at Longchamp (October 5) and then the Champion Stakes at Ascot (October 19)."

Barande-Barbe remains confident the seven-year-old will bounce back to his best, adding: "He is absolutely fine and didn't have a hard race at Deauville last time. The race did not suit him and I think he thought, 'Not today'. He was not blowing as much as the other horses after the race.

"He will be fine when the race suits him better. He is probably better over the mile and a quarter than he is over the mile and a half."

Aidan O'Brien has an incredibly strong hand among the 13 confirmations for the Irish Champion, leaving in Camelot, Declaration Of War, Triumphant, Kingsbarns, Magician and Ruler Of The World.

Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue is an intriguing contender for John Gosden, while Jim Bolger has confirmed Parish Hall and Trading Leather.

Bolger said: "The plan is to run Trading Leather in the Irish Champion Stakes. He arrived home from York in good shape and he has been fresh and well since."

Dermot Weld will delay a decision about the participation of Princess Highway until later this week.

He said: "She is a very talented filly and I don't think that we've seen the best of her so far this season. She has been left in the Champion Stakes and we will give it full thought, but she is a very possible runner."

The potential field is completed by triple Group One winner Al Kazeem and John Murphy's outsider Euphrasia.


From Belfast Telegraph