Grandera Upsets Hawk Wing in Irish Champion Stakes

Godolphin Racing's Grandera used a late surge to beat favorite Mrs. John Magnier's Hawk Wing by a head at the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Grandera, a 4-year-old son of Grand Lodge ridden by Frankie Dettori, earned $612,500 for the first-place finish.

Sholokov (by Sadler's Wells) broke out to an early 10-furlong lead and extended the advantage to 12 lengths with a half-mile remaining. Best Of The Bests (by Machiavellian) moved into the lead with one furlong remaining before being overtaken by Hawk Wing (Woodman). But Grandera surged past for the win.

``He is a very peculiar character but he is enormously talented and everything has to go right,'' Dettori said. ``He didn't want to go, then he did, then he didn't and then he went.

``I thought I'd got up just on the line. He is peculiar but at least he's a superstar.''

It's the fourth time in the last five years that a horse from Godolphin stable has won the Irish Champion Stakes, with Swain winning in 1998, Daylami winning in '99 and Fantastic Light prevailing last year.

``Grandera, on his day, is a really great horse,'' Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said.

``The races he has won this year -- Singapore, Royal Ascot here -- are top notch races. And he's not finished with yet. Maybe the Cox Plate in Australia.''