Charlton full of hope for improving Headman in Irish Champion

Leopardstown test expected to suit

  • Thursday 05 September
  • News
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Roger Charlton believes the track at Leopardstown will play to the strengths of Headman when he makes his Group One debut in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday week.

The son of Kingman will bid to enhance his progressive profile by recording a fourth straight success in the mile-and-a-quarter prize, for which he is a top-priced 7-1.

Landing a Group Two on his first start in Pattern-race company at Saint-Cloud in June, the Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old followed up at the same level when showing a good turn of foot at Deauville on his most recent outing.

Charlton – who won the Irish Champion two years ago with Decorated Knight – said: “It is a big jump up in class, but I’ve been pleased with the horse.

“It is really the only race to run in as there are no more three-year-old-only races and having won two Group Twos there is no point giving weight away in another Group Two.

“I don’t think either of the French races suited him. I think the course and the style of the race will suit him better and I think a quicker surface is what he wants.

“I assume there will also be a better pace and they won’t go like they did in France last time out. He is a long-striding horse and you don’t want to be breaking that stride.”

Had the race been run to suit Headman on his last start, the Beckhampton handler feels his winning margin of a head would have been significantly greater.

He added: “It was very tactical in France last time out and these things happen in French races.

“Nothing in that race had really made the running before and we knew there was a lack of pace and he just missed the break a little bit, which didn’t help him.

“I think for an inexperienced horse he did well to come from where he was, as the race quickened in front of him. If they had gone fast in the French race on the last day he would have won by a few lengths.”

Whatever the result in Ireland, the Classic-winning handler is confident Headman will be seen to even better effect next season.

He said: “I think this horse is one for the future and I’m sure he will keep improving. I think he will be better next year.

“I wouldn’t want to go further than a mile and a quarter at the moment, as he has got plenty of speed and is bred to be a mile-and-a-quarter horse.”

Charlton full of hope for improving Headman in Irish Champion
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