08/30/2009 11:00PM

Sea the Stars still on for Irish Champion Stakes


Sea the Stars is the most prominent name on the five-day entry list for the $1.42 million Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, but the highest-rated horse in the world, already the winner of four Group 1 races this year, will not run unless the ground is good or better, according to his trainer, John Oxx.

The going at Leopardstown on Monday was good, good to firm in places, so hopes remained high that Sea the Stars, a dual classic winner, will be able to take his place in the lineup, although rain is predicted to fall periodically between then and raceday.

Joining Sea the Stars on the five-day entry list are six horses trained by Aidan O'Brien, among them the Irish Derby winner, Fame and Glory, and Mastercraftsman, who was second by a length to Sea the Stars in the Juddmonte International at York on Aug. 18.

Famous Name would bring a three-race winning streak into the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Irish Champion, the last two at the Group 3 level, while Casual Conquest is coming off a win in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh.

The Irish Champion Stakes will be the fourth of 10 European Win and You're In races corresponding to a given Breeders' Cup race. Victory at Leopardstown on Saturday would earn the winner a place in the Breeders' Cup Turf.