Decorated Knight took Group 1 glory in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes while hot favourite Winter was beaten in the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend


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Roger Charlton’s five-year-old has been beaten on his last three starts but he bounced back to form in some style with a brilliant late run under Andrea Atzeni

DECORATED KNIGHT caused a 25-1 shock as he swooped late to win the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Roger Charlton’s five-year-old won the Tattersalls Gold Cup on his last trip to Ireland but had been beaten on his three runs since.

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Decorated Knight swooped down the outside to claim Group 1 glory

Andrea Atzeni gave him a patient ride and made a decisive swoop on the outside to take glory with Poet’s Word in second.

Eminent came home in third place, in a 1-2-3 for British-trained runners, while favourite Churchill was disappointing.

Decorated Knight


Andrea Atzeni celebrates his win on Decorated Knight

Charlton said: “Andrea said he knew he was going to win turning in. I couldn’t believe it.

“He’s tough, consistent and very sound. He produced an amazing turn of foot and ran right to the line. There was nothing flukey about it.

“He’s been a bit unlucky in his last couple of races. He hated the ground at York, got bashed about at Sandown in the Eclipse and ran a great race at Royal Ascot.

“To keep going all season is a tribute to the horse. I was half-thinking that this might be his last race. I guess we will now look at the Champion Stakes at Ascot.”


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Hydrangea (left) holds off the challenge of hot favourite Winter

Meanwhile, Hydrangea ended the winning run of her illustrious stablemate Winter when springing a surprise in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes.

Another O’Brien filly, Roly Poly, made the running with the two stable companions not far behind.

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It looked as though Winter’s class might prevail, but Hydrangea (20-1) just would not give in for Wayne Lordan and got the verdict by a head over the even-money favourite.

The John Gosden-trained Persuasive was three-quarters of a length away in third.

Hydrangea and Winter


Hydrangea caused a 20-1 shock

O’Brien said: “I’m delighted for the filly and I’m delighted for Wayne. She is Winter’s work partner all year, and maybe she turned around and said ‘Hydrangea, you can have this one today!’.

“They ran together in the trial before going to Newmarket and Hydrangea pipped Winter, so it was great really.

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“We felt that Winter was going to improve a bit from the run. She was carrying a little bit of a tummy, but needed to run. The winner will stay further. She could go for the Prix de l’Opera.

“Winter is in the Arc, and the Opera is another option.”

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