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Roaring Lion odds-on favourite for Irish Champion Stakes

The Guardian logo The Guardian 11/09/2018 Chris Cook
Roaring Lion is favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes. © Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar Roaring Lion is favourite for the Irish Champion Stakes.

Roaring Lion has gone odds-on for Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes after the latest entry stage, when it became clear that he will face a maximum of nine opponents. Among the big names to have dropped out of the Leopardstown race are Poet’s Word, Cracksman, Crystal Ocean, Lancaster Bomber, Cliffs Of Moher and Benbatl.

Related: Talking Horses: why the Poet's Word team should be looking at the Arc

The Irish Champion now centres on a sixth meeting between Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior, Roaring Lion having come out on top in their last three clashes. John Gosden’s charge was cut on Tuesday from 5-4 to 4-5 to bag his third Group One prize of the year on Saturday, with Saxon Warrior a 100-30 shot. Study Of Man, the French Derby winner, is the only other entrant on offer at single figures.

Meanwhile, Ruby Walsh ruled himself out of Wednesday’s Kerry National and expects to be out of action for another fortnight, nursing some bruised ribs he sustained in a Killarney fall late last month. “There is still very deep bruising in the bones in all of my ribs and around my back. I’ll just have to wait until it’s right,” he said through his Paddy Power blog.

“I was hoping that it was going to heal sooner than it has. We have loads of good runners this week but I’m just too sore. Until I’m ready, I won’t be back.”

Carlisle1.30 Collingham Park 2.00 Mustaqbal (nap) 2.35 Forcetoreckon 3.10 Oak Park 3.45 Unbeatable Dancer 4.15 The Right Choice 4.50 Le Chat D’Or 5.25 Decima 

Doncaster1.50 Khaadem 2.25 Fanaar 3.00 Global Applause 3.35 Assimile 4.05 Spirit Of Appin 4.40 Afaak 5.15 Saaheq 

Uttoxeter2.15 Mr Caffrey 2.50 Val Mome 3.25 Sky Pirate (nb) 3.55 Notnow Seamus 4.30 Strumble Head 5.05 Strong Team 

Kempton5.45 Glory Of Paris 6.15 Smart Illusion 6.45 Crystal Casque 7.15 Quicksand 7.45 Twister 8.15 Morning Skye 8.45 Fieldsman

Walsh has had only 38 rides in races this year, the result of repeated injury problems, notably a broken leg he suffered last November. The 39-year-old aggravated that injury in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

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