Johnny Murtagh eyes Sun Chariot Stakes glory with Champers Elysees

Ex-champion jockey-turned-trainer believes ‘remarkable’ filly can triumph at Newmarket

Johnny Murtagh will hope to mark the 20th anniversary of his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe success on Sinndar with more Group One glory for his new star Champers Elysees at Newmarket on Saturday.

The former champion jockey sends Champers Elysees to the Sun Chariot Stakes after she was supplemented into the race by her new Japanese owner.

Teruya Yoshida bought the filly after Champers Elysees provided one of the highlights of Irish Champions Weekend with her Matron Stakes victory three weeks ago.

The runner-up that day, Peaceful, is sent to renew rivalry by Aidan O’Brien who already has three previous wins in the race.


Murtagh never won the Sun Chariot during his glittering career in the saddle but is full of hope of changing that as a trainer.

“With a filly like this you don’t know when they’ll stop [improving]. She’s been remarkable this year, starting off in a handicap and she’s gone up to Group One company, winning all the way.


“This will be her fifth run of the year so she hasn’t been over-raced. It’s a tough assignment and she has to travel which she’s never done before but she’s tough and genuine,” he said.

Murtagh also has a couple of runners at Tipperary on Saturday including Lord Rapscallion in the Group Three Concorde Stakes.

Black type action over jumps steps up a gear this weekend with a trio of Grade Three events at Tipperary on Sunday and the Grade Two PWC Champion Chase taking place at Gowran.

The Arkle winner Put The Kettle gets her season under way in a race that Sizing Europe memorably dominated four years in a row (2011-14.)

Another Cheltenham festival winner, Saint Roi, who proved to be Barry Geraghty’s final career ride when landing the County Hurdle, returns to action on Sunday when ridden by Mark Walsh for the first time.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column