• Racing/
  • The Fugue Is Champion Heroine

Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) 1m 2f

  • (3yo+, 1m 2f, Class 1, 6 runners)
  • Winner €434,500 2nd €142,000 3rd €67,001 4th €22,000 5th €14,500 6th €7,000 7th €499
  • Going: Good, Good to Yielding in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 2m 5.22s
  • Off time: 18:50:29
  • Last Updated: September 7 2013, 20:02 BST

Superstar mare The Fugue powered home to beat Al Kazeem and Trading Leather in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes.

The Fugue gets the better of Al Kazeem to score
The Fugue gets the better of Al Kazeem to score

In a contest that has traditionally been dominated by the boys, The Fugue followed in the path of last year's winner Snow Fairy as she surged past Al Kazeem (9/10 favourite) to win by a length-and-a-quarter.

However it was a contest that will be remembered less fondly by Aidan O'Brien. The Ballydoyle trainer had enjoyed plenty of success elsewhere on the card, but pulled out Declaration Of War before the race on account of the rain-softened conditions and saw his remaining runner, last year's Racing Post Trophy winner Kingsbarns, all but pulled up after losing ground quickly on the home turn.

William Buick was patient aboard the 4/1 winner, but the result was immediate when he asked her to quicken up as the pacesetting Trading Leather came back to his rivals over a furlong out.

"I was worried about the ground, but it worked out well," the rider told At The Races.

"She's one of the greats now. She's been so unlucky and should have won so many times last year. I'm just glad she's getting the rub of the green.

"She's always been special and has always been a special one for in the yard everybody. She's very good and has arguably beaten the best around at the moment.

"She's beaten the colts in a championship race and it was a great performance the way she did it."

Owner Lady Lloyd-Webber added: "It's been touch and go. I nearly didn't get on the plane because I didn't think we were going to run with all the rain that was forecast. But John said 'It's good ground and we have to run'.

"I thought we would have to wait 20 years to get another filly like Dar Re Mi but here we are and it's unbelievable. She is just so tough."

Sky Bet quote the winner at 8/1 for Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners said: "You couldn't fail to be impressed by The Fugue who looks to be absolutely thriving at the moment. She's clearly going to be a leading player wherever she turns up in the autumn."

"We'll take it a step at a time," said trainer John Gosden, with regards to future plans. "She's in on Arc weekend but that would be dependent on the weather as we wouldn't want soft ground. I'd have throught the Breeders' Cup Turf would be on the agenda too."

Gosden admitted he had been concerned by the state of the ground but was pleased he decided to run.

He said: "We walked the track twice before racing and I'm glad we decided to run now.

"There's a sense of relief. The ground yesterday would have been perfect but luckily the heavy rain has only really started now.

"If we'd got that three hours before racing, we wouldn't be standing here now.

"After coming over, I wasn't inclined to go back to England and then cross the Channel for the Prix Vermeille next week."

The Fugue was winning her first Group One in mixed company and Gosden believes the form is truly out of the top drawer.

"It was a proper race. The first three went a solid gallop - Kevin (Manning on Trading Leather) didn't mess around. It was a proper, even test and she came through well," he said.

"I'm really thrilled. There's some good solid form lines there with Trading Leather and Al Kazeem.

"I said to William to just go inside the final furlong, he went a bit before that but I think he did the right thing because you don't want to leave it too late and end up looking stupid."

Joseph O'Brien said he was hoping that Kingsbarns had suffered only a minor problem.

He said: "When he met the road, he took a bit of a bad step and lost his action. He wasn't too bad pulling up and hopefully he's just given himself a little bit of a bang."


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