This year’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend will take place behind closed doors after the organising committee behind the fixture made the recommendation due to uncertainty around Covid-19.

The annual event, which takes place at Leopardstown on September 12 and the Curragh on September 13, features a host of top-class racing including the Irish Champion Stakes, Irish St Leger and Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Paul Dermody, Chief Executive of HRI Racecourses, said: “With less than eight weeks to go before Longines Irish Champions Weekend, it was the committee’s view that this was the optimum time to give people certainty.

“It is a great shame that our feature weekend of Flat racing will not be enjoyed by racegoers in person this September, but we will ensure a warm welcome for everybody when they return next year.

“In the meantime, we will be refunding all of those who availed of early-bird and advance ticket offers. We will now focus our attention on providing racing fans with a brilliant at-home experience.”

Harry McCalmont, Chairman of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend committee, added: “We had dearly hoped that circumstances would allow us to have racegoers back on the racecourse for Longines Irish Champions Weekend but that doesn’t look at all likely so it is best to make a call on it now.

“It is a great pity, but we still have a wonderful weekend of racing to look forward to.

“The committee would like to take the opportunity to thank the sponsors of all races for their loyalty and we look forward with interest to see the array of horses that will line up at Leopardstown and the Curragh.”

Stradivarius entered in Goodwood Cup

Bjorn Nielsen’s Stradivarius is one of seven entries for next week’s Goodwood Cup as the outstanding stayer bids to become the first horse to win four editions of the Group 1.

He could face strong opposition from Irish Derby winner Santiago, Eagles By Day, Euchen Glen, Nayef Road, Spanish Mission and Who Dares Wins, all of whom are entered for the two-mile contest.

Today’s racing

There is plenty of racing today with Flat meetings at Sandown, Pontefract and Leopardstown while there is jumping action at Uttoxeter and Limerick.

Over in France today, Longchamp’s card features the Prix de Thiberville, which will see the Roger Varian-trained Queen Daenerys and the John Gosden-trained Majestic Noor contest the 1m4f Listed event.