09/07/2007 11:00PM

Dylan Thomas repeats


Dylan Thomas beat his stablemates Duke of Marmalade and Red Rock Canyon at Leopardstown on Saturday to become the first dual winner of the Irish Champion Stakes. He ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.27.

Kieren Fallon, who was riding Dylan Thomas for the first time since beating Ouija Board by a neck in this race last year, was happy to settle the son of Danehill fourth of the six runners. Red Rock Canyon led Duke of Marmalade as far as the straight, at which point Dylan Thomas passed English shipper Maraahel to move into third.

Duke of Marmalade took a narrow lead while Dylan Thomas, the 3-5 favorite, took time to find his full stride. He was leaning into Fallon's left-handed whipping and went straight to the rails as he took up the chase.

Once in front, though, he was in no danger and scored by 1 1/2 lengths over Duke of Marmalade. It was another two lengths back to Red Rock Canyon in third. The first three finishers are all trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Breeders' Cup Turf winner Red Rocks, who was running for the first time since June 20, was a never-dangerous fourth, two lengths farther back. The 3-year-old filly Finsceal Beo, a dual Guineas winner, finished last in the six-horse field.

"Dylan Thomas is great at this trip but, because it's one and a quarter miles, it takes him time to get up to tempo," O'Brien said. "He has such a long stride."

The win was Dylan Thomas's fifth in a Group 1 and his fourth victory this year. He has also been second three times, his conquerors being three of the very best, Notnowcato, Manduro, and Authorized.

O'Brien, who has now won the Irish Champion five times, named the Arc de Triomphe as the next objective for Dylan Thomas, provided the going is good.

O'Brien speculated that runner-up Duke of Marmalade could run in either the Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Oct. 20 or step up to 1o1/2 miles for the Breeders' Cup Turf seven days later.

Matron: Echelon draws clear

English invaders dominated the Group 1 Matron Stakes for fillies and mares over one mile.

Echelon, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, headed the front-running Eastern Appeal 200 yards from home and ran on to beat last year's winner Red Evie by 1 1/2 lengths.

Eastern Appeal and Arch Swing finished third and fourth, respectively, but Arch Swing was hampered twice in the straight and was moved up a place.

Echelon, the 2-1 favorite, was ridden by Ryan Moore, already successful on Hearthstead Maison - another English shipper - in the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes.