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Phill Anderson has three tips from the Down royal card on Saturday
  1. Horse Racing
  2. Horse Racing Tips

Horse racing tips: Al Riffa to spring a surprise in Irish Champion Stakes

Irish Champions' Weekend kicks off with a top-class card at Leopardstown on Saturday and the Racing Post's Phill Anderson has a trio of selections on the card.

Phill Anderson's tips:

3.20 Leopardstown - Al Riffa @ 9/1
2.45 Leopardstown - Homeless Songs @ 8/1
4.30 Leopardstown - White Birch @ 11/2

All odds correct at time of writing and subject to change.

3.20 Leopardstown - Al Riffa @ 9/1

It looks like a warm renewal of the Irish Champion Stakes with last year's winner Luxembourg and runner-up Onesto not even in the front four in the betting.

This year's Epsom Derby first and second, Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel respectively, are vying for favouritism at the time of writing but I'm not convinced either of those runners are going to appreciate a drop back to 1m2f.

There's another improving three-year-old at an each-way sort of price that might be worth taking a chance on.

We are yet to see the best of Al Riffa who ran a huge race behind the current ante-post Arc favourite, Ace Impact, last time out. 

He did well to quicken off a slow pace and only went down by a length that day. With much more pace on paper this time with the likes of Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale likely to force a decent gallop, he should be seen to even better effect.

The stamina on the dam's side of his pedigree suggests that more of a stamina test will suit rather than the sit and sprint race in France last time and top Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon retains the ride having been reportedly very happy with him after his excellent run at Deauville.

This is no doubt tougher but he has more upside than plenty of his rivals and if he does progress again, he could be hard to keep out of the frame.

Phill Anderson's tip:

Al Riffa @ 9/1 - 1pt each-way

2.45 Leopardstown - Homeless Songs @ 8/1

Tahiyra is a worthy favourite for the Matron Stakes but she's not much of a betting proposition at odds on and her Dermot Weld-trained stablemate is a much more interesting prospect at around 8/1.

Homeless Songs was a hugely impressive winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas last year before a disappointing autumn campaign but she showed she retains plenty of ability when only narrowly denied over course and distance earlier this year.

She shaped like she needed the run that day and due to her being a fragile sort, she hasn't been seen since. However, Weld is the right man to get them ready for the big day and she wouldn't be running if she wasn't somewhere close to her best given her stablemate's market position.

The filly has been forgotten about in the market and makes each-way appeal at her current odds.

Phill Anderson's tip:

Homeless Songs @ 8/1 - 1pt each-way

4.30 Leopardstown - White Birch @ 11/2

A drop down in class could see White Birch return to form in the Kilternan Stakes later on the card.

He ran a huge race when third in the Epsom Derby and he had excuses when badly hampered at the Curragh in the Irish version since but a drop down in class could do the trick.

Given his habit of starting slowly, he needs a decent pace to aim at to be seen at his best but Adelaide River and Mashmoor should ensure that he gets the race run to suit and he offers a bit of value.

Phill Anderson's tip:

White Birch @ 11/2 - 1pt each-way

Phill Anderson's tips:

3.20 Leopardstown - Al Riffa @ 9/1
2.45 Leopardstown - Homeless Songs @ 8/1
4.30 Leopardstown - White Birch @ 11/2

All odds correct at time of writing and subject to change.

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