09/07/2006 12:00AM

Ouija Board vs. Alexander Goldrun


The withdrawal of Hurricane Run from Saturday's Group 1, $1.28 million Irish Champion Stakes sets up a fantastic rematch between Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun at Leopardstown. The Irish Champion will be contested at 1 1/4 miles.

With the absence of rain likely to produce good ground at Leopardstown, Andre Fabre has opted to keep Hurricane Run, the defending Arc champion, in France for Sunday's Prix Foy. As a result, Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun will meet five weeks after they battled through the Goodwood stretch in the Nassau Stakes, where Ouija Board prevailed by a nose.

Ouija Board is a six-time Group 1 winner. In Jamie Spencer, she will have her fourth different rider in her last four races. Spencer has ridden Ouija Board three times before, but not since June 2005, when she finished seventh in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, a race she won this year when ridden by Olivier Peslier.

Alexander Goldrun, a five-time Group 1 winner, will be ridden as usual by Kevin Manning. Manning has ridden Alexander Goldrun in all 28 of her starts.

Aidan O'Brien saddles Irish Derby winner Dylan Thomas and Ace. Kieren Fallon will ride Dylan Thomas, who was fourth last time behind Notnowcato in the Juddmonte International and would appear better suited to 1 1/2 miles.

Rob Roy failed in his lone try at 1 1/4 miles, when 14th in David Junior's Champion Stakes at Newmarket last October. Mustameet has won his last four outings, most recently in the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes, and could be the value play at 6-1.

* The Group 1, $320,000 Matron Stakes, a one-mile affair for fillies and mares, will feature Group 1 winners Nannina and Peeress. Just two lengths behind Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun when third in the Nassau Stakes, Nannina appears to be a solid favorite, but the preference is for the improving Red Evie. A Michael Bell-trained Intikhab filly, Red Evie made it six wins in a row last time, when she won the seven-furlong Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood, and she may be good enough to handle this step up in class.