• Horse Racing

Cirrus misses Irish Champion Stakes to focus on Frankel

ESPN staff
September 1, 2012
Cirrus Des Aigles will defend the Qipco Champion Stakes © PA Photos

Cirrus Des Aigles will focus on a showdown with Frankel at Ascot later this year after it was confirmed he will not run the Irish Champion Stakes.

The three-time Group One winner was under consideration for the Leopardstown race, but French trainer Corine Barande-Barbe felt he might be overpowered. Cirrus Des Aigles has not run since May, and would have been up against the likes of Nathaniel and Snow Fairy.

"He will not run in Ireland," Barande-Barbe said. "The Irish Champion looks like it will be a very good race and it might be too much for him - he has been off for a long time."

Instead, the six-year-old gelding will take a race in France as he builds towards Ascot on October 20. That sets up the tantalising prospect of a meeting with Frankel in the Qipco Champion Stakes - won by Cirrus Des Aigles last year.

"He is very well and we are very happy with him, but we will prepare for Ascot in France. He could run in La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte, or there is also the Prix Dollar a day before the Arc.

"He finished second in that race last year and it could fit well. The English Champion is the big plan."

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