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Leopardstown to start Champions Weekend earlier to avoid All-Ireland replay


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The race times for the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend have been brought forward. This move will avoid a clash with the All-Ireland senior football final replay between Dublin and Kerry.

The changes were made, according to HRI, to avoid a direct clash with the football final. It will also accommodate a potentially significant Japanese television audience tuning in to catch a glimpse of Deirdre.

The mare, who won at Goodwood, will be the first Japanese trained runner in Ireland.

Racing will now start at the earlier time of 1.55 rather than the usual 3.05. The main race of the day, the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes will be run at 4.15 rather than the scheduled 6.35.

This change may help a handful of television viewers and will guarantee terrestrial TV coverage of the racing.

Missing Out

The change in time will affect some participants though, Ryan Moore and other jockeys have previously utilised the gap between the St Leger at Doncaster and the later start time at Leopardstown for Irish Champions Weekend to ride at both venues.

There are now just 40 minutes between the last Classic of the British season and the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, making riding ain both races impossible.

Leopardstown punters will not get to see some of the world's top jockeys in action.

The jockeys will be able to make it for second Group 1 on the card, the Coolmore ‘Fastnet Rock’ Matron Stakes. The mares' race moves to 5.25pm and will be the last of five live races on RTE.

“On a fantastic day of sporting action, we will cater for those who would like to see one of the best race meetings of the year and one of the highlights of the season. As well as the All-Ireland final replay.

"We will be bringing a big-screen experience to the football replay and, as we have seen during the Dublin Racing Festival and the Six Nations, there is an incredible atmosphere watching big games on the big screens at Leopardstown,” said Leopardstown CEO, Pat Keogh.

“The news that Green Channel will show the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes live on their channel is fantastic news for the profile of the race. We’ve been inundated with media requests from Japan which underlines the interest there in their brilliant race mare, Deirdre.

“It’s an incredible day’s racing and is one for the whole family to enjoy – indeed it is worth repeating that accompanied children under-18 are free and there are plenty of free children’s activities.”


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