Galaxy of stars heading for Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown early next month
Waiting Patiently, Presenting Percy, Road To Respect, Apple’s Jade, Laurina, Battleoverdoyen, Simply Ned, Footpad, Le Richebourg and La Bague Au Roi among exciting Leopardstown entry
Thursday, January 10, 2019
The two-day Dublin Racing Festival at
Leopardstown on Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3 boasts the
strongest of entries. A wonderful renewal of the BHP Insurance Irish Champion
Hurdle on the opening afternoon is on the horizon with star mares Apple’s Jade
and Laurina featuring in the initial line up for Gordon Elliott and Willie
Mullins might also call upon Sharjah, successful in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle
at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Last year’s first and second,
Supasundae and Faugheen - winner of the race in 2016 - could also take their
The first of eight Grade 1 races at the Dublin Racing Festival is the Nathaniel
Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle which has attracted 57 entries, an
increase of 22 on last year. Battleoverdoyen heads the way after his Grade 1
success in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle and his rivals could include the
Pat Fahy-trained Dunvegan, Philip Dempsey’s Derrinross and the Henry De
Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle. Willie Mullins has made 18 entries for the race
including his Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle third Getareason, Annamix, Tornado
Flyer, Relegate and Robin De Carlow.
The Ladbrokes Dublin Chase will be run as a Grade 1 for the first time and has
attracted a strong entry from Britain with the Ruth Jefferson-trained Waiting
Patiently, Nicky Richards’ course specialist Simply Ned, Saint Calvados,
trained by Harry Whittington and the Harry Fry-trained Hell’s Kitchen among the
15 entries. Last year’s winner Min, Footpad, Un De Sceaux and Great Field look
to give Willie Mullins every chance of success in the race while Jessica
Harrington has entered the long-absent Sizing John.
British entries Knocknanuss, trained by Gary Moore, and the Nicky
Richards-trained Reivers Lad are among 19 horses, up from 10 last year, in the
Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase. A formidable home team is
headed by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Le Richebourg, the Terence O’Brien-trained
Articulum and Aidan Howard’s Winter Escape. That trio is backed up by a Gordon
Elliott quintet featuring the Limerick Grade 1 winner Hardline and Mengli Khan.
Day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on Sunday, February 3
also features four Grade 1 races and the Unibet Irish Gold Cup has attracted an
impressive entry of 24 horses.
Waiting Patiently, trained by Ruth Jefferson, which gets another entry here,
the Nicky Henderson-trained Top Notch and Jonjo O’Neill’s Minella Rocco make up
the challenge from the other side of the Irish Sea with leading Cheltenham Gold
Cup fancy Presenting Percy, trained by Pat Kelly, heading a strong Irish
Last year’s winner Edwulf and the 2017 winner Sizing John have been entered by
Joseph O'Brien and Jessica Harrington respectively, while Willie Mullins has
made five entries, headed by his impressive Savills Chase winner Kemboy, Al
Boum Photo and Bellshill. Trumping them all with seven entries is Gordon
Elliott who has entered the only mare in the field, Shattered Love. Noel
Meade’s Road To Respect, Henry De Bromhead’s Monalee and the Tony
Martin-trained Anibale Fly are three more notable entries.
Also over fences, the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase has proved popular with
trainers with an entry of 25 comparing favourably with last year’s initial take
up of 18. La Bague Au Roi, unbeaten in three starts over fences, including the
Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices´ Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day, heads the way
and is a likely runner for trainer Warren Greatrex.
Monalee won the race for Henry De Bromhead in 2018 and the County Waterford
trainer has made four entries for the latest renewal with Chris’s Dream and
Paloma Blue making plenty of early appeal. Chief among a team of eight entered
by Gordon Elliott look to be Christmas Grade 1 winners Delta Work and Hardline.
Aidan Howard has given Winter Escape an entry while Terence O’Brien’s Articulum
is another that has the two-mile, five-furlong event as an option.
The younger brigade get their chance to shine in the Grade 1 Tattersalls
Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle which boasts an entry of 27, an increase of 17
on last year. The Tom Mullins-trained Rocky Blue, winner of the Grade 2 Knight
Frank Juvenile Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival could renew
rivalry with Gordon Elliott’s Coeur Sublime in a race that could also feature a
rematch between Joseph O'Brien’s Sir Erec and the Willie Mullins-trained Tiger
Tap Tap, first and second in a maiden hurdle over the same course and distance
late last month.
An entry of 25 was received for the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle last
year but 32 horses are in line to take up the challenge this time.
Battleoverdoyen is one of nine in Gordon Elliott’s squad while Aramon, another
Grade 1 winner, is one of nine entered by Willie Mullins.
Pat Keogh, Chief
Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said,
“We were delighted with the success of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival in
2018 and are confident that 2019 will be bigger and better. The goal of this
festival is to celebrate Dublin with the very best that National Hunt racing
has to offer. We are delighted with the quality and quantity of entries and
thank the owners and trainers for their support.
“After only one year the festival has established itself in the spring calendar
and we are delighted to have eight Grade 1 races and an increased prizemoney
purse of over €1.8m. This has only been possible through the ongoing support of
our sponsors and Horse Racing Ireland. Dublin is one the most vibrant and
enjoyable cities in Europe and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from
around Ireland and overseas to the Dublin Racing Festival.”
head of Unibet racing sponsorship and communications, said:
‘We are both delighted and honoured to continue our association with
Leopardstown and the Unibet Irish Gold Cup. Previous winners of the Unibet
Irish Gold Cup reads like a who’s who of jumps racing, and we are privileged to
sponsor such a prestigious event; it’s a race that resonates both sides of the
Irish Sea, and one that links in well with our other racing sponsorships.
“Once again, the Unibet Irish Gold Cup has attracted an incredible list of
entries; but given the prize money on offer and the iconic nature of the race,
that is no surprise. It’s a race that every owner, trainer and jockey yearns to
Ladbrokes Head of
PR, Nicola McGeady said:
“We are really happy with the entries and another stellar weekend of racing is
expected. We very much expect Apple’s Jade to continue her unbeaten streak,
while it’ll be interesting to see if punters are willing to forgive Footpad.”