Initiatives like the one set to launch at Leopardstown and the Curragh this weekend are always hostages to fortune in some degree. There is only so much stage setting that can be done before the performers rightly take centre stage, although, like their British counterparts, the early signs indicate the Irish have done it extremely well. Our own Champions Day could not have been timed better as the exploits of Frankel boosted racing's appeal with the wider public, and in dual-Derby winner Australia the Irish have cashed in on some of their famous luck, too.
The comparisons between Australia and Frankel must stop there as further scrutiny would only be a disservice to both parties, entirely different animals as they are, but Australia is the headline act in the Irish Champion Stakes and as the comments from his trainer Aidan O'Brien over the past 12 months have shown, he is eminently marketable. However, he's added further currency to his reputation by backing up the familiar slogans pumped out from the Ballydoyle PR machine with some high-class performances. A close third in a strong 2,000 Guineas was followed by impressive victories at Epsom, the Curragh and York and with a Timeform rating of 132p only Kingman has a higher rating in Europe.
As you would expect, this has been factored into Australia's price for Saturday and he trades at 1/3, so the advice is to watch and savour his performance as there may not be too many more opportunities to see him before his long-held appointment with the covering shed takes priority. He spent the early part of the summer in the comparative shadows of Kingman and Taghrooda, but there should only be one name in lights following Saturday's race.
There's likely to be another short-priced favourite from Ireland's most famous stud in the other Group 1 run on Saturday with Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry dropping back to a mile in the Matron Stakes. On first glance it may seem a strange move given her exploits over further recently, but she was sent off favourite for the 1,000 Guineas (shaped as if amiss) and shaped better than her sixth in the Coronation Stakes would suggest. Tapestry is improving fast and she is versatile enough to cope with the different demands this race will present; she can help make it a memorable day for Coolmore.
There are three Group 1s at the Curragh on Sunday, starting with the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Cursory Glance established herself as one of this season's leading juveniles with an excellent second in the Lowther Stakes - the exceptionally good time backs up the view it is strong form - and the step up in trip to seven furlongs looks sure to suit. It would be no surprise to see her gain her first top-flight success and consolidate her position at the top of the 2015 1,000 Guineas betting. That said, Found has been supplemented and carries a Timeform large 'P' and with just the one career start to her name falls firmly into the 'could be anything' category.
Impressive Goodwood scorer Highland Reel could look to extend his winning run in the National Stakes, though Aidan O'Brien may instead rely on stable companions Gleneagles and Jamaica who would both rate as interesting contenders. Highland Reel would be the star turn, however, as the only colts to sit above him in Timeform's two-year-old pecking order are Estidhkaar, Limato, The Wow Signal and Ivawood. With none of those set to oppose, the prize looks booked to head to Aidan O'Brien and 'the lads'.
The concluding Group 1 contest is the Irish Leger where Leading Light bids to 'do the double' having won the St Leger on Town Moor last September. It says something of the relatively 'unfashionable' staying division that Leading Light hasn't always got the recognition his achievements deserve and success in Sunday's race is unlikely to change that, for all the presence of the Dermot Weld-trained pair of Pale Mimosa and Forgotten Rules means victory is no formality.
Perhaps some may see it as a shame that this sparkling new initiative could well be business as usual with Ballydoyle dominating the major contests; others may see it entirely fitting that this mammoth feat of marketing is dominated by the supreme self-publicists of Irish racing. All in all, the blend of current and future talent should make for an enthralling weekend of racing as such occasions always do, despite betting propositions being a little thin on the ground at this stage.
Click HERE to see all the latest Ante-Post prices for the weekend's action on Betfair.