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Eminent heading for Ireland


Martyn Meade has confirmed his intention to send Eminent to race at Saturday’s QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (6.45pm).

The Frankel colt has had a mixed year after stepping up from winning a maiden on debut in 2016 to clinch the Craven Stakes in April.

Bids at capturing Group 1 glory have faltered since then, with the Sefton Lodge stable star coming up short in the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (sixth), Investec Derby (fourth) and Coral-Eclipse (fifth).

However, he returned to winning ways last month by claiming the Group 2 Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville under Ryan Moore.

It had been expected that Meade would have Eminent primed and ready for a tilt at October’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but there has now been a change of tact.

Moore will be required elsewhere in the race by Aidan O’Brien, so instead Meade has turned to Frankie Dettori.

The flamboyant Italian jockey has won the Group 1 showpiece on six previous occasions, the most recent of which came in 2015 with Golden Horn.

Other potential Newmarket interest in the race includes Sir Michael Stoute’s Poet’s Word and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl.

n Four Newmarket-trained horses look set to make the journey across the Irish Sea for Saturday’s Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown (5.35pm).

The charge will be spearheaded by John Gosden’s Persuasive, who finished second to Alice Springs last year.

William Haggas’ Sea Of Grace, Hugo Palmer’s Unforgetable Filly and Wuheida from Charlie Appleby’s yard could also feature.

O’Brien’s Winter is the favourite, having picked this race over the Champion Stakes.

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