Irish rematch for top horses

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  • Fantastic Light’s chance to rewite the form book in a rematch with Galileo at Leopardstown tomorrow

    The rematch between unbeaten Galileo and Fantastic Light in Saturday’s Irish ChampionStakes at Leopardstown is likely to determine autumn plans for the two superpowers, Coolmore and Godolphin.

    Dual Derby winner Galileo, representing Coolmore Stud and owners Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier, beat Fantastic Light by two lengths in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in July in his first encounter with the older generation.

    If he wins with authority again on Saturday there could be the real prospect of Galileo taking on the top milers in the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes at Ascot at the end of the month.

    If Fantastic Light reverses King George form – and he looked like winning at this trip of a mile and a quarter at Ascot – then he could go for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont at the endof October. And perhaps even engage in yet another rematch with his old adversary.

    But first things first, and who will prevail at Leopardstown? It is a close call with Fantastic Light meeting Galileo on 5lb more favourable terms than in the King George. But Mick Kinane will ride a different race on Galileo, who always impresses with the way he glides through his races when his rivals are flat to the boards.

    It will be a battle of tacts between Kinane and Frankie Dettori on Fantastic Light.Both horses will have the benefit of their own pacemakers and it is to be hoped there is a good even pace.

    Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Fantastic Light, reported his colt in good form when breezing five furlongs in a Newmarket workout on Wednesday.

    “I think over the shorter trip of a mile and a quarter, Fantastic Light has a better chance of beating Galileo,” he declared. “We are very happy with him.”

    Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Galileo, has been making similar noises about his brilliant three-year-old. My heart is with Galileo. For him to retain his unbeaten record and gallop on to greatness would be good news for racing.

    On the domestic front at Haydock Godolphin rely on Three Points and O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable will be represented by Minardi and Mull of Kintyre in Saturday’s Group Stanley Leisure Sprint. But preference is for last year’s winner Pipalong, who will relish every drop of rain that has fallen on the Merseyside course.

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