With the defeat of Australia and Leading Light, “Champions” weekend was an anti climax.

So Ive been away for a few weeks and the news hasn’t been good.

From what I can see Aidan O’Brien had a bit of a miserable Champions weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh with odds on favourites Australia and Leading Light all failing to win with the Champion Stakes and Irish St Leger being taken by British challengers The Grey Gatsby and Brown Panther.

Australia over his optimum trip of 10 furlongs seemed set up to win the Group 1 Champion , but Kevin Ryan and Ryan Moore had other ideas. So the bubble of invincibility was burst, with another 3 year colt lowering the Ballydoyle hot pots colours.

Sometimes all the hype and all the superlatives are just , well words and its on the racecourse that the action takes place and not on the airwaves nor on the printed page!

So is the The Grey Gatsby the champion 3 year old? Im not sure of that one and maybe its time for us to drop all these titles in any case. What actual use are they? Maybe only in truth only a marketing ploy for a stallion career?

He is without doubt a very very good 3 year old, who has blossomed and improved since springtime and seems best in or around 10 furlongs.

I had believed that O’Brien had done very well to take the Epsom and Irish Derby’s with Australia over a trip beyond his best and that he would be unbeatable , at least by his own generation over shorter distances.

Oh how wrong I was!

What then of Leading Light? Quirky perhaps, but a horse with enormous ability and a race record to match it,looking like being nearly capable of following on from Yeats was well and truly trounced by Michael Owens , Brown Panther.

This son of Shirocco is a good horse who thrives on good to firm ground and the lead he was given by O’Brien’s pacemaker seemed to play into his hands.

Is he the best stayer in Europe? At 6 years of age maybe he is , but its sure taken him a few years to get to that height!

So for all the talk and all the marketing, a champions weekend should have the “champions” winning, in this case it looked like a bit of a miserable anti climax , for these two horses at least!

But that view isn’t one that anyone pushing the whole Champions project wants to hear!!!!!

So the sun has gone down on the Champions weekend here in Ireland, surely someone will critically analyse it ?



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