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Irish Champion Stakes

Group 1 race
Irish Champion Stakes
Location Leopardstown
Co. Dublin, Ireland
Inaugurated 1976
Race type Flat / Thoroughbred
Sponsor Tattersalls
Website Leopardstown
Race information
Distance 1m 2f (2,012 metres)
Track Turf, left-handed
Qualification Three-years-old and up
Weight 9 st 0 lb (3yo);
9 st 7 lb (4yo+)
3 lb for fillies and mares
5 lb for S. Hemisphere 3yo
Purse 1,000,000 (2009)
1st: €569,000

The Irish Champion Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Ireland which is open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Leopardstown over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs (2,012 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.



The event was established in 1976, and in the early part of its history it was called the Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes. It was initially staged at Leopardstown, and from its outset it held Group 1 status. It was named in memory of Joe McGrath (1887–1966), the founder of the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake and subsequently a successful racehorse owner. [1]

The race became known as the Phoenix Champion Stakes in 1984, when it was transferred to Phoenix Park. This venue was closed for racing in late 1990, and the event's present title was introduced when it returned to Leopardstown in 1991.

The Irish Champion Stakes became part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series in 2009. The winner of the race now earns an automatic invitation to compete in the same year's Breeders' Cup Turf. [2]


Most successful horse (2 wins):

Leading jockey (7 wins):

  • Michael KinaneCarroll House (1989), Cezanne (1994), Pilsudski (1997), Giant's Causeway (2000), High Chaparral (2003), Azamour (2004), Sea the Stars (2009)

Leading trainer (5 wins):

  • Vincent O'BrienInkerman (1978), Fordham (1979), Gregorian (1980), Kings Lake (1981), Sadler's Wells (1984)
  • Aidan O'BrienGiant's Causeway (2000), High Chaparral (2003), Oratorio (2005), Dylan Thomas (2006, 2007)

Leading owner (5 wins):

  • GodolphinCezanne (1994), Swain (1998), Daylami (1999), Fantastic Light (2001), Grandera (2002)
  • Sue Magnier / Michael TaborGiant's Causeway (2000), High Chaparral (2003), Oratorio (2005), Dylan Thomas (2006, 2007)








1976 Malacate 3 Lester Piggott François Boutin María Félix Berger 2:07.60
1977 North Stoke 3 Ron Hutchinson John Dunlop Mrs M. Lequime 2:09.20
1978 Inkerman 3 Lester Piggott Vincent O'Brien Simon Fraser 2:05.20
1979 Fordham 4 Tommy Carberry Vincent O'Brien Robert Sangster 2:07.00
1980 Gregorian 4 George McGrath Vincent O'Brien Danny Schwartz 2:07.80
1981 Kings Lake 3 Pat Eddery Vincent O'Brien Mrs Jean-Pierre Binet 2:06.30
1982 Assert 3 Christy Roche David O'Brien Robert Sangster 2:06.30
1983 Stanerra 5 Brian Rouse Frank Dunne Frank Dunne 2:09.50
1984 Sadler's Wells 3 Pat Eddery Vincent O'Brien Robert Sangster 2:00.90
1985 Commanche Run 4 Lester Piggott Luca Cumani Ivan W. Allan 2:09.20
1986 Park Express 3 John Reid Jim Bolger Paddy Burns 2:02.50
1987 Triptych 5 Tony Cruz Patrick Biancone Alan Clore 2:06.70
1988 Indian Skimmer 4 Michael Roberts Henry Cecil Sheikh Mohammed 2:06.50
1989 Carroll House 4 Michael Kinane Michael Jarvis Antonio Balzarini 2:04.00
1990 Elmaamul 3 Willie Carson Dick Hern Hamdan Al Maktoum 2:02.90
1991 Suave Dancer 3 Cash Asmussen John Hammond Henri Chalhoub 2:06.80
1992 Dr Devious 3 John Reid Peter Chapple-Hyam Sidney H. Craig 2:10.00
1993 Muhtarram 4 Willie Carson John Gosden Hamdan Al Maktoum 2:06.10
1994 Cezanne 5 Michael Kinane Michael Stoute Godolphin 2:07.90
1995 Pentire 3 Michael Hills Geoff Wragg Mollers Racing 2:04.40
1996 Timarida 4 Johnny Murtagh John Oxx HH Aga Khan IV 2:06.20
1997 Pilsudski 5 Michael Kinane Michael Stoute Lord Weinstock 2:04.70
1998 Swain 6 Frankie Dettori Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin 2:10.20
1999 Daylami 5 Frankie Dettori Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin 2:08.40
2000 Giant's Causeway 3 Michael Kinane Aidan O'Brien Magnier / Tabor 2:03.10
2001 Fantastic Light 5 Frankie Dettori Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin 2:01.80
2002 Grandera 4 Frankie Dettori Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin 2:04.70
2003 High Chaparral 4 Michael Kinane Aidan O'Brien Tabor / Magnier 2:03.30
2004 Azamour 3 Michael Kinane John Oxx HH Aga Khan IV 2:01.90
2005 Oratorio 3 Kieren Fallon Aidan O'Brien Magnier / Tabor 2:03.90
2006 Dylan Thomas 3 Kieren Fallon Aidan O'Brien Magnier / Tabor 2:02.90
2007 Dylan Thomas 4 Kieren Fallon Aidan O'Brien Magnier / Tabor 2:02.27
2008 New Approach 3 Kevin Manning Jim Bolger Princess Haya of Jordan 2:07.57
2009 Sea the Stars 3 Michael Kinane John Oxx Christopher Tsui 2:03.90


  • horseracingintfed.comInternational Federation of Horseracing Authorities – Irish Champion Stakes (2009).

See also

  • Recurring events established in 1976 – this race is included under its original title, Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes.


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