Roaring Lion may give jockey Oisin Murphy first Group One success in Ireland

Flag Of Honour at the top of some betting lists for €500,000 Leger at the Curragh

Roaring Lion is a general 5-4 favourite to give his in-form jockey Oisin Murphy a first Group One success in Ireland in this Saturday's QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Killarney-born Murphy – 23 last week – was out of the money on board Lightening Spear in Sunday’s Prix Du Moulin at Paris-Longchamp behind Recelotos. However that was a rare top-flight reverse recently for the rider who has enjoyed a vintage 2018 to date, landing half a dozen Group One victories in three different countries.

The latest of them was on The Tin Man in Saturday's Haydock Sprint Cup, adding to Lightening Spear's Sussex Stakes, two wins in Dubai and Germany for Benbatl, and Roaring Lion's pair of Group One victories in the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International.

“I’m so lucky to have found so many good horses in such a short space of time,” Murphy said on Saturday after The Tin Man beat Brando, with Aidan O’Brien’s Gustav Klimt in third.

The Kerry rider also won at the top level in France and Canada in 2017, but has yet to do so in his native country.

Roaring Lion is a hot favourite for the most valuable race of the €4.6 million “Irish Champions Weekend”. The grey colt is Europe’s highest rated three-year-old after his York victory, and his owner, Sheikh Fahad of Qatar Racing, sponsors Saturday’s big race.

Its final shape will become more clear after Tuesday’s forfeit stage, although an unsettled weather outlook for the week ahead could determine some plans. The going at Leopardstown is currently good to firm.

Stable companion

Doubts expressed by Aidan O'Brien about whether or not his Comer Group Irish Leger stalwart Order Of St George will race again has seen his stable companion Flag Of Honour usurp him at the top of some betting lists for Sunday's big race at the Curragh.

The €500,000 Leger is the feature event on a card featuring four Group One races on day two of “Irish Champions Weekend”.

The newly promoted Derrintown Stud Flying Five is set to see Godolphin’s Kings Stand winner Blue Point return to action after a disappointing effort in York’s Nunthorpe. After his narrow Moulin defeat of Wind Chimes it is Ascot’s “Champions Day” next month which will be the next outing for Recoletos.

“He will go to Ascot, probably for the QEII. We will stay at a mile and then maybe the Breeders Cup. That’s normally the programme,” said his trainer Carlos Laffron-Parias.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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

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