British raider Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs, looks
set to take on Willie Mullins’ big guns Faugheen and Melon in the BHP Insurance
Irish Champion Hurdle on the opening day of Dublin Racing Festival at
Leopardstown on Saturday.
The trio head the nine horses remaining in the €150,000
contest with Gordon Elliott providing the strongest opposition with his Leopardstown
Christmas Festival Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle winner Mick Jazz while Supasundae and
Jezki could represent Jessica Harrington.
Our Duke, Killultagh Vic and Anibale Fly head the remaining ten
horses in the €200,000 Unibet Irish Gold Cup, one of four Grade 1 races on
Sunday. Owners Gigginstown House Stud have left three horses in the race with
Alpha Des Obeaux, Outlander and Valseur Lido possible runners for Mouse Morris,
Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead respectively. Killultagh Vic’s trainer
Willie Mullins may also be represented by Djakadam while Minella Rocco is
expected to make the trip for Jonjo O’Neill.
The Mullins-trained Footpad, so impressive in the Grade 1
Racing Post Novice Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, features among
the seven horses remaining in the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice
Chase for which Henry De Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir also stands his ground.
The Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle
is the first of three Grade 1 races on Saturday and included among the 15 horses
going forward for this are the unbeaten Samcro, Leopardstown Christmas Festival
winner Dicey O’Reilly and Fairyhouse’s Royal Bond Novice Hurdle runner-up Early
The Grade 2 Coral Dublin Chase sees stable companions Min
and Yorkhill go head-to-head with Simply Ned renewing rivalry with the former
after their clash at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. A total of ten horses
remain in the €100,000 event including 2017 Cheltenham Champion Chase winner
The €100,000 Coral Hurdle can boast an entry of 37 after
this afternoon’s forfeit stage including early favourite Off You Go and last
year’s winner Ice Cold Soul, while twenty-nine horses remain in the €75,000 Coral
Sandyford Handicap Chase.
The biggest names have also stood their ground for the Grade
1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle with 15 horses staying in including Sharjah and
Samcro, while the Gavin Cromwell-trained Espoir D’allen will put his unbeaten
record on the line in the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle
where the Willie Mullins-trained pair Stormy Ireland and Mr Adjudicator and
Gordon Elliott’s Farclas head the opposition.
The Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase is another race to savour
and Henry De Bromhead’s Monalee and the Gordon Elliott-trained Sutton Place are
among the star attractions. The Mullins-trained Total Recall is all the rage
for the William Fry Handicap Hurdle and heads the 30 horses remaining in the
race while the Chanelle Pharma Chase sees 39 horses going forward, headed by the
Alan Fleming-trained Tully East and cross-channel hope Hell’s Kitchen.
Pat Keogh, Chief
Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “It is all getting very
exciting as we prepare for the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival this weekend.
We are delighted with the support we have received from all the owners and
trainers and it promises to be some of the best racing we have seen in
Leopardstown for a very long time.”