We round up the views from connections and Man On The Spot verdicts ahead of Saturday's top-class racing from Leopardstown.
5.25 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes
Views from connections
Jessica Harrington - Alpha Centauri: "She travelled back from France very well. She was in great form. She had an easy week and then we started cantering her again. She's been away to the Curragh twice and worked there. She did her final bit last Saturday at the Curragh, in the pouring rain. She's been very good and we're very happy with her.
"She's actually had an extra week this time. It's always been about four weeks between runs and this is the guts of five weeks. You'd know exactly how she's feeling and how she's doing. She's had five races so far (this season) and the first race of the year was a non-event. On the face of it she hasn't really had a hard race since then, but you're never really quite sure how much they're taking out of themselves.
"Weight-wise she's been very level the whole way through the summer and in fact, she's now probably heavier than she's ever been. She's really thrived since her last run and she might be going into Saturday slightly heavier than normal. It's hard to say whether she's improved, but the great thing as far as I'm concerned is she's maintained her form."
Karl Burke - Laurens: "We're delighted with her, to be honest. She looks as well as she's done all year and she's working better than ever. It's a tough one up against Alpha Centauri, obviously, but it will be an interesting race and we're looking forward to it."
"Some people will say it's a bit strange to drop her back to a mile, but we gave an entry in the Matron because there was no Group One prep race for the Prix de l'Opera. After the Yorkshire Oaks, we looked at it and given on her only previous run over a mile she finished second in the Guineas, we felt it was worth a a go. She's thrived and got stronger as the year has gone on and has actually got quicker. Strength doesn't always mean stamina and I think that's the mistake we made."
Man On The Spot verdict
With four Group 1 races in the bag, all in scintillating style, ALPHA CENTAURI is impossible to oppose. Jessica Harrington's star handles any ground as we saw in the Jacques le Marois at Deauville on soft going where she had no problems beating last week's Prix du Moulin winner Recoletos. Laurens has also been successful at Group 1 level in France this summer, on both occasions over 1m2f on ground with some give. She didn't look happy on much faster going over 1m4f in the Yorkshire Oaks and will be much more at home here, though could do with some rain. Magical was behind the latter in the Fillies' Mile last October and has only had two runs this term but bounced back with an impressive victory in a Group 2 at the Curragh in July and looks certain to give a good account. Her stable companion Happily is held by the selection and Laurens on early season form but it wouldn't be a shock to see her run well, as she did in the Eclipse behind Roaring Lion. Another Ballydoyle inmate, last year's Cheveley Park winner Clemmie, has run three times this season and finished behind the selection on each occasion.
QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes
Views from connections
Oisin Murphy - Roaring Lion: "It's another Group One and they tell me he has been in very good form since York. I'm looking forward to riding him, I can't wait. I think on figures and everything, York was better than Sandown. York definitely suits the horse very well.
"He has plenty of experience at the top level, so hopefully he can put that to good use again. On ratings he has improved every time he has run in 2018 I suppose from the time turning into the home straight at York you could see he was going to win, as he just travelled so well.
"He certainly has found a mile and a quarter is his trip. That may have taken time because it was a case of finding the right trip or just a case of him improving with each run, we don't have to dissect that too much. Nobody is going to run the race to set it up for Roaring Lion and certainly Saxon Warrior is Aidan O'Brien's main protagonist. I'm drawn a bit away from him, but until I sit down and go through it with John and Sheikh Fahad, we won't decide how to ride it yet."
Aidan O'Brien - Saxon Warrior, Athena, Deauville and Rhododendron: "We've been happy with Saxon Warrior since York. He was just ready to run back in York and we've been happy with him since then. He was very sick after Sandown and we always felt that he would progress after his run at York.
Stephane Pasquier - Study Of Man: "He's in good form. He has worked two or three times and has improved a lot, he's much better than before the race in Deauville. I have to walk the track before deciding how I'll ride him. My horse is quiet and has a very good turn of foot so that's what I have to use. I would like to win so much for all the stable. I'll try my best and the horse is in good form."
Man On The Spot verdict
Ireland hasn't won this since 2011 and John Gosden has won two of the last three. France was successful in 2016 and Pascal Bary's Study Of Man takes his chance after an unsatisfactory run in a Deauville Group 2 following his victory in the French Derby. Addeybb's victory in the bet365 Mile at Sandown propelled him into the big league and he appeared to find the very fast ground in the Lockinge against him though he's yet to prove he stays this far. The winner of the latter race, Rhododendron, has performed poorly subsequently and her stable have a much better chance with Saxon Warrior. He beat ROARING LION on ground with some give in the Racing Post Trophy a year ago and also when landing the 2000 Guineas on good ground. But he has subsequently finished behind the runner-up on three occasions, including in the Eclipse and Juddmonte, though on both those occasions on fast going. It could be close to call between the pair here though preference is just for the Gosden colt.