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2021 Irish Champion Stakes Tips - Weld's mare can land the feature at Leopardstown

  • Tips and odds for the 2021 Irish Champion Stakes
  • This Group One headlines the action on day one of Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown
  • St Mark's Basilica tops the betting
  • Tarnawa is our best bet at 9/4
Chris Hayes riding Tarnawa (green) win The Moyglare 'Jewels' Blandford Stakes. (Getty)

The opening day of action at the Dublin Racing Festival is headlined by the Irish Champion Stakes. Only four entrants were confirmed for this year's renewal of this historic contest, but with nine Group One victories between them, attendees at Leopardstown are guaranteed a fantastic race.

We've taken a look at each of the four runners in the 2021 Irish Champion Stakes and picked out our best bet.
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  • 2021 Irish Champion Stakes Odds
  • 2021 Irish Champion Stakes Runners
  • 2021 Irish Champion Stakes Tips

2021 Irish Champion Stakes Odds

St Mark's Basilica11/8
Poetic Flare7/2
Patrick Sarsfield33/1

*Odds taken on 9/9/21*

2021 Irish Champion Stakes Runners

St Mark's Basilica2021 Irish Champion Stakes FavouriteGET 11/8 HERE
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St Mark's Basilica is now the joint highest-rated horse in Europe, having won his last four outings in Group One company. Aidan O'Brien's Dewhurst winner is unbeaten as a three-year-old, scoring in two French Classics before a sparkling victory in the Coral-Eclipse.

Second in the betting we find Dermot Weld's mare Tarnawa, who won two Group Ones at Longchamp and the Breeders' Cup Turf last autumn. Tarnawa looked as good as ever when winning the Ballyroan Stakes on her reappearance, and she'll won't be daunted by the prospect of softer ground this weekend.

Poetic Flare has enjoyed a superb three-year-old campaign, winning the 2000 Guineas and the St James' Palace Stakes. Jim Bolger's star has also placed in the Irish Guineas, the Sussex Stakes and the Jacques le Marois, and boasts a perfect two-from-two record around Leopardstown.

The final runner is Patrick Sarsfield, who hasn't been seen since that narrow defeat to Juan Elcano in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot. Joseph O'Brien's five-year-old won a Group Three at Leopardstown last season, but has to give weight to the three classier runners ahead of him in the market.

2021 Irish Champion Stakes Tips

Tarnawa2021 Irish Champion Stakes TipsGET 9/4 HERE
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As mentioned earlier, there's a chance we might get soft ground on day one of Irish Champions Weekend. The weather forecast is expecting plenty of rain to hit the track over Thursday and Friday, and more could come on Saturday afternoon.

This going certainly wouldn't suit Poetic Flare, as he steps up to ten furlongs for the first time. Bolger's star will probably still run, having raced on soft ground a couple of times this term, but it's clear he loves fast ground and juicy turf would bring his stamina under further scrutiny.

Patrick Sarsfield will likely be asked to lead, but he wouldn't want this race to turn into a test of speed. Ryan Moore will be confident he can win on St Mark's Basilica, regardless of how the race is run. Yet, I fancy the lack of a clear pacemaker could set this up for the fast-finishing TARNAWA.

I've got a soft spot for Dermot Weld's star, having tipped her to win both the Prix de l'Opera and the Breeders' Cup Turf. One of those races took place over ten furlongs on heavy ground, the other over 12 furlongs on fast, so the team has nothing to fear regarding the trip nor the ground.

Unlikely St Mark's Basilica, who's never run around Leopardstown before, Tarnawa is a dual course winner, and wiped the floor with some half-decent rivals on her return to action last month. 


St Mark's Basilica will be a tough nut to crack, but this race could set up perfectly for Tarnawa, and I'd rather side with Colin Keane's mount at the current prices.

2021 Irish Champion Stakes Tips: Tarnawa Straight Win @225.00 at BetMGM - 15 Units

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