Aidan O’Brien opts to pair Dettori with Snowfall in Paris

Elsewhere, there will be 4,000 spectators allowed in to Leopardstown

Frankie Dettori is set to be reunited with Snowfall in Sunday’s Qatar Prix Vermielle in Paris.

On a bumper Group 1 weekend for European racing, Aidan O’Brien has had to juggle jockey arrangements and is turning to Dettori for Snowfall at Longchamp’s Arc Trials programme.

“The plan at the moment, and plans can change obviously, is that Frankie is going to France and will ride Snowfall. Ryan (Moore) will be at the Curragh,” O’Brien said on Wednesday.

Dettori was on board Snowfall for her spectacular 14 length rout in the Epsom Oaks during the summer.


Since then she has also landed both the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks under Moore and is a general 9-4 favourite for next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She is a 1-2 favourite for Sunday’s race.

The €600,000 Vermeille is run over the Arc course and distance. It was won last year by Tarnawa.

Moore will be on duty at the Curragh on Sunday for the second leg of Irish Champions Weekend where his mounts will include the unbeaten two-year-old star Point Lonsdale in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Although O’Brien underlined that final plans will be left until as late as possible, the Ballydoyle team are set to be in Group 1 action on Saturday at both Day 1 of Champions Weekend at Leopardstown as well as in the Doncaster St Leger.

Dettori is waiting to partner one of the O’Brien team in the Leger which includes the supplementary entry, High Definition.

As well as Snowfall the Italian rider could also partner Ballydoyle runners in Longchamp’s other Arc trials on Sunday.

Broome is one of three O’Brien entries currently left in the Prix Foy while Bolshoi Ballet is still in the Prix Niel.

The deferment of the All-Ireland football final date means a bumper sporting Saturday.

With a 5pm throw in at Croke Park, racing officials have opted to change race times at Leopardstown and the featured €1 million Irish Champion Stakes will be run at 2.45. That is almost an hour and a half earlier than originally scheduled.

The first race will be off at 12.40 and the last at 4.20.

“It’s in order to make sure the broadcasting didn’t clash and that people moving around the city didn’t clash,” Leopardstown’s chief executive Tim Husbands said on Wednesday.

“It has to be facilitated in this way. Given the status of the day, and it’s the first day we’re getting the public back in, there’s just a little bit of flexibility required and we were happy to facilitate it,” he added.

Under relaxed Covid-19 protocols a crowd of 4,000 is expected on Saturday where a sizeable number of on-course bookmakers will be back in action.

However it is the potential windfall from Saturday’s card being included for the first time in the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s World Pool tote betting that is encouraging hopes for as many runners as possible on the card, including in the Champion Stakes.

Officials stressed on Wednesday that no minimum number of runners is required in the big race but acknowledged that greater choice is always a plus in pool betting.

Created and hosted by the HKJC since 2018, Ireland is the fourth jurisdiction to participate in the World Pool to date following Britain, Dubai and South Africa.

The boost to turnover was shown at the Epsom Derby in June when the pool grew from €1.9m to over €30.3m.

There are 13 entries in the Champion Stakes ahead of final declarations on Thursday. Seven are from Ballydoyle including the favourite, St Mark’s Basilica.

Tarnawa will represent Dermot Weld while Jim Bolger has both Poetic Flare and Mac Swiney to pick from. Joseph O’Brien trains the other three possibles.

Up to 15mms of rain is forecast for Leopardstown ahead of Saturday but soft ground conditions are not expected.

“At the moment the ground is good to firm, good in places. We watered this morning as a precaution. We are told we might get up to 15mms of rain before the end of the week which would be nice. But if we don’t we’ll be watering in any case,” Tim Husbands said.