January 31st 2020: Kemboy and Delta Work, trained by Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott respectively head the nine runners for Sunday’s Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, the richest prize of this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.The Mullins team is further strengthened with Bellshill, the winner 12 months ago, and Cadmium also taking up the challenge. Last year’s Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase winner La Bague Au Roi, trained by Warren Greatrex, is another bidding for a second Dublin Racing Festival success and will be joined in a fine renewal of the €250,000 event by the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy, Henry De Bromhead’s Chris’s Dream, Anibale Fly, trained by Tony Martin and the Jessica Harrington-trained Jett.
The veteran Faugheen and Battleoverdoyen lead the way for Mullins and Elliott respectively in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase for which seven horses are declared. While Elliott relies on one runner, Mullins has also declared Easy Game, Castlebawn West and Tornado Flyer. Henry De Bromhead runs two, Dommage Pour Toi and Myth Buster. The first of the Grade 1 races on Sunday is the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle and the 10 horses are headed by De Bromhead’s exciting dual winner Aspire Tower which is likely to make a bold bid for a second Leopardstown success under Rachael Blackmore after his runaway victory in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Christmas. Joseph O'Brien runs both Cerberus and A Wave Of The Sea with Gavin Cromwell running Wolf Prince and John McConnell taking his chance with Never Do Nothing. Among the seven horses declared for the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle are the Willie Mullins-trained Mt Leinster, Blue Sari and Asterion Forlonge. Gordon Elliott has both Easywork and Conflated while Henry De Bromhead runs Jason The Militant with John Ryan represented by The Little Yank.
The first race of the day is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle with the Gordon Elliott-trained Surin heading the weights for the 27-runner field which includes the hat-trick seeking Our Roxanne, trained by Terence O’Brien, Willie Mullins’ Concertista and the Henry De Bromhead-trained Ellie Mac. An intriguing runner is Gavin Cromwell’s Jeremys Flame which was second in the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.Another Elliott runner, Jury Duty, will carry top weight in the 28-runner William Fry Handicap Hurdle where the Robert Widger-trained Treacysenniscorthy will bid for a fourth-straight success. Gardens Of Babylon and Morosini, among a strong JP McManus entry, are leading contenders for trainers Joseph O'Brien and Jessica Harrington respectively.
The 24-runner Gaelic Plant Hire Handicap Chase has the Willie Mullins-trained Yorkhill as its top weight with Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now and the Terence O’Brien-trained Articulum also towards the head of the field. A little lower down, Chavi Artist holds a definite chance for trainer Tom Mullins while the Tony Martin-trained At The Acorn is another notable contender.
The Festival finale is the Grade 2 Coolmore National Hunt Sires EBF Mares INH Flat Race for which 11 horses have been declared. Joseph O'Brien’s impressive Fairyhouse winner Castra Vetera will face stiff opposition from Gordon Elliott’s Bigbadandbeautiful, runner-up in the race a year ago, and Darling Daughter with the Mags Mullins-trained Lady Temperance very much in the mix after her Naas debut win.
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