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Yoshito Yahagi gives Shin Emperor option of Irish Champion Stakes

Yoshito Yahagi gives Shin Emperor option of Irish Champion Stakes
Yoshito Yahagi gives Shin Emperor option of Irish Champion Stakes

Having already conquered America, Australia and the Middle East, leading Japanese trainer Yoshito Yahagi could be set to target one of Ireland’s top races.

Yahagi has entered French-bred three-year-old Shin Emperor for the Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 14.

The veteran handler – well known for his inimitable taste in hats – has enjoyed huge success on home turf with the likes of local Triple Crown winner Contrail and is never afraid of trying his luck further afield.

Loves Only You and Marche Lorraine gave him a famous double at the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, while Lys Gracieux landed Australia’s Cox Plate in 2019.

Stable stalwart Panthalassa provided Yahagi with a second Dubai Turf triumph in 2022 and went on to prevail in the Saudi Cup the following year.

Shin Emperor appears to be an ideal candidate to pick up the globetrotting baton after finishing a close fifth in the Japanese 2,000 Guineas and then taking third place in his home Derby, the Tokyo Yushun.

He is a son of Siyouni and is out of Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister, making him a full-brother to 2020 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Sottsass.

The only previous Japanese raider to run in the Irish Champion Stakes was Deirdre, who followed up her Nassau Stakes success at Glorious Goodwood by finishing fourth behind Magical at Leopardstown five years ago.

See It Again is one of two South African entries, with the dual Grade One victor being trained by former top jockey Michael Roberts, who partnered Indian Skimmer to glory in this race back in 1988 during his time in the saddle.

Aidan O’Brien has made 14 entries for a race he has won for the last five years and a record 12 times overall, including title holder Auguste Rodin and 2022 scorer Luxembourg.

City Of Troy, Los Angeles, Henry Longfellow and Ylang Ylang are featured on the Ballydoyle list from the current Classic generation.

Recent Tattersalls Gold Cup star White Birch would be another strong home contender for John Joseph Murphy, while a 17-strong British contingent includes Inspiral, Emily Upjohn and last year’s third, Nashwa.

Dubai Turf winner Facteur Cheval and French 2,000 Guineas ace Metropolitan could attempt to emulate the 2016 Gallic triumph of Almanzor.

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