Tarnawa Set For St Mark's Basilica Clash In Irish Champion Stakes


Supermare Tarnawa is set to clash with St Mark's Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown this month with her jockey Colin Keane very happy with her progress from her seasonal debut.

The five year old had an unbelievable season last term racing four times and going on to win all of her events with ease.

She started her campaign off at Cork in a Group Three event over 1m4f for fillies and she managed to see off Group Two winner Cayenne Pepper comfortably.

Off the back of that prep run she headed straight over to France for the Group One Prix Vermeille, where she took on horses like Dame Malliott and Raabihah and on good ground she blitzed the field by three lengths.

The five year old showed her versatility in terms of ground next time out when landing a hat-trick in the 1m2f Group One Prix de l'Opera on heavy ground, beating Alpine Star who had some serious form.

Having had an unbelievable season already, Weld sent his star mare to America for the Breeders Cup Turf at Keeneland and on firm ground she needed every bit of the 1m4f to land the event.

That was her best performance to date, coming all the way round the field to see off the likes of multiple Group One winners Magical, Lord North and Mogul.

Having been waited on for later this season she returned in the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown and although her trainer explained she would need the run, she still went on to win by close to seven lengths.

She is said to have come out of the race well and all roads lead to the Irish Champions Stakes at Leopardstown later this month where she will take on the superstar colt St Mark's Basilica.

(Credit Racing Post) Her rider Colin Keane said: "Tarnawa is coming back a couple of furlongs and that shouldn't be a problem. She's not slow – she travels strongly and has a good turn of foot over a mile and a half. Dropping back to ten furlongs won't be much of an issue."

He added: "It looks a very good race. St Mark's Basilica has been very good this term and so has Poetic Flare. If they turn up it's going to be a very strong contest.

"These are the races you want to ride in as a jockey, you get the biggest buzz out of riding in them. Riding the best horses in the best races and against the best jockeys, that's why you do it and I'm looking forward to it."

"I got to sit on her last Friday morning. We did a routine swinger and she seemed very well. She seems to be a much stronger mare this year. She had a good break after the Breeders' Cup last year and came back in quite late, which was always the plan.

"She has done very well over the winter, probably better than they'd have thought as she's taken a bit of work to get her where she is now."