Irish Champion Stakes

The Irish Champion Stakes is a Group 1 race for three-year-olds and upwards over ten furlongs at Leopardstown. It takes place in September and often attracts Classic winners from England, Ireland and France.

Aidan O’Brien has been dominant in the Irish Champion Stakes in recent years, winning it a record ten times.

His winners include the only dual winners of the race in Dylan Thomas (2006, 2007) and Magical (2019, 2020). Other notable winners include Sadler’s Wells (1984), Triptych (1987), Suave Dancer (1991), Giant’s Causeway (2000) and Sea The Stars (2009).

Find out more about the Irish Champion Stakes:

Irish Champion Stakes

Race Overview

The Irish Champion Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race for horses aged three and above that takes place in Ireland every year. Every year in September, it is held at Leopardstown over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs.

Check out our guides to all the other Group One horse races in Ireland.

Irish Champion Stakes Odds

Here are the latest odds for the Irish Champion Stakes in 2022:

  • There is no open book of odds in the ante-post market for this event yet

Irish Champion Stakes Tips

Here are some tips for Irish Champion Stakes in September 2022:

  • 2 points to win for TBC at odds of TBC
  • 1 point each way for TBC at odds of TBC

You will spot horses from the Irish Champion Stakes in more races throughout the year. Watch closely how all these horses perform then go place your bets on ante-post betting.

Famous Irish Champion Stakes Winners

The Irish Champion Stakes was first run in 1976 as the Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes at Leopardstown. It was then run as the Phoenix Champion Stakes in 1984 before returning to Leopardstown when that course was closed in 1990.

The race is now one of the most prestigious middle distance races in Europe. It regularly attracts Derby winners and has become a major trial for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Vincent O’Brien trained five of the first nine winners; Inkerman (1978), Fordham (1979), Gregorian (1980), Kings Lake (1981) and Sadler’s Wells (1984).

The incredibly high quality of winners was maintained with the likes of Triptych (1987), Indian Skimmer (1988) and Carroll House (1989). Triptych was trained in France by Patrick Biancone and ridden by Tony Cruz. She was a remarkably tough and consistent filly, earning over $1.5 million in prize money with 14 victories in her 44-race career.

Indian Skimmer was a brilliant grey filly trained by Henry Cecil. She was also a prolific winner with her victories including the French Oaks where she defeated Miesque. Carroll House won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1989.

Epsom Derby winner Dr Devious added his name to the roll of honour in 1992 while other high class winners include Suave Dancer (1991), Pentire (1995), Pilsudski (1997), Swain (1998) and Daylami (1999). The “Iron Horse” Giant’s Causeway was the first winner in the race for trainer Aidan O’Brien in 2000. High Chaparral (2003) and Oratorio (2005) won for the stable before Dylan Thomas won back-to-back runnings in 2006-2007.

New Approach (2008), Sea The Stars (2009) and Golden Horn (2015) all won the Epsom Derby before winning here. Magical became O’Brien’s second dual winner in 2019-2020 and St Mark’s Basilica (2021) made it a hat-trick.

Key Irish Champion Stakes Trials

The most significant guide to the Irish Champion Stakes in recent years has been the Group 1 International Stakes at York. Five of the last twelve winners ran in that event, although only Roaring Lion (2018) had managed to win at the Knavesmire. The talented grey had also won the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown after his stamina ran out in the Epsom Derby, eventually finishing third behind Masar and Dee Ex Bee.

Victory in this race opens up a host of possibilities in the Autumn. Golden Horn (2015) went on to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Cape Blanco (2010), So You Think (2011) and Magical (2019) were all beaten in Paris. Almanzor went on to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot and Roaring Lion won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the same venue.

Irish Champion Stakes Betting Trends

Three-year-olds have a good record in the Irish Champion Stakes, winning six of the last twelve renewals. Swain (1998), successful at the age of six, is the oldest winner in the history of the race.

Favourites have won five of the last twelve renewals of the Irish Champion Stakes. So You Think started at the prohibitive odds of 1-4 favourite in 2011 while Roaring Lion (2018) and St Mark’s Basilica (2021) were also odds-on at 8-11 and 5-6 respectively. The other successful favourites during this period were Golden Horn (2015) at 5-4 and Magical (2019) at 11-10.

The remaining seven winners were all in the top three in the betting with the exception of 25-1 shot Decorated Knight in 2017. He came from last to first to beat Poet’s Word and Eminent with odds-on favourite Churchill well beaten in seventh place. Class comes to the fore here with the last twelve winners all having previously been successful at least once at Group 1 level. An official rating of 118 or higher is usually required to win this race. The highest rated winner in recent years was John Gosden’s Derby winner Golden Horn on 130.

Irish Champion Stakes – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Aidan O’Brien has dominated this race since Giant’s Causeway provided him with his first Irish Champion Stakes in 2000. St Mark’s Basilica took his tally to a record ten victories in 2021. Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin enjoyed a spell of success with four victories in five seasons between 1998 and 2002 but have not managed to claim the prize since. John Gosden won it with The Fugue (2013), Golden Horn (2015) and Roaring Lion (2018) before O’Brien reasserted with a run of three straight victories.

The leading jockey in the history of the Irish Champion Stakes is Mick Kinane with seven winners; Carroll House (1989), Cezanne (1994), Pilsudski (1997), Giant’s Causeway (2000), High Chaparral (2003), Azamour (2004) and Sea The Stars (2009). Frankie Dettori has won it six times, most recently aboard Golden Horn in 2015.

Best Irish Champion Stakes Betting Sites

The Irish Champion Stakes is one of the highlights of the flat racing season. It always produces an exciting clash between the current Classic crop and the best older horses. The Irish Champion Stakes also provides plenty of clues to the outcome of the top Autumn races like the Arc and the Champion Stakes.

Here are the most popular free bets for Irish Champion Stakes betting:

  • bet365 Horse Racing

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    One of the more new horse racing betting sites UK-wide, Unibet is gathering a lot of new punters and fans, who enjoy its easy-to-use website.

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  • Mr Play Sport

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  • Betway Horse Racing

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Summary of Irish Champion Stakes

We hope you have enjoyed our guide to the Irish Champion Stakes.

Find out more on the in-depth list of horse racing fixtures in Ireland 2022.

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.