Leading fancies Apple's Jade, Supasundae and Melon are among
a final field of six runners for the Grade 1 BHP Insurance Irish Champion
Hurdle on the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown
Heading the line-up of 10 runners for Sunday’s Unibet Irish
Gold Cup are market leaders Road To Respect, Al Boum Photo and Bellshill, the
trio just some of the game’s biggest names on show at the two-day extravaganza.
Opposition to the big three in the BHP Insurance Irish
Champion Hurdle comes in the shape of the 2017 winner Petit Mouchoir and the
Gordon Elliott-trained Farclas and Tombstone while the likes of last year’s
victor Edwulf, the Henry De Bromhead-trained Monalee and Tony Martin’s Anibale
Fly are others vying for success in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup.
The Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle on
Saturday is the first of festival’s eight Grade 1 races and 16 horses are going
forward, including Pat Fahy’s Dunvegan, the Willie Mullins-trained Salsaretta
and Relegate and Gordon Elliott’s Commander Of Fleet.
Six runners are on target for the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase. Last
year’s winner Min and runner-up Simply Ned represent Willie Mullins and Nicky
Richards respectively while the Harry Whittington-trained Saint Calvados is a
second cross-channel raider. A classy renewal of the Grade 1 Frank Ward
Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase is on the cards with the Joseph O'Brien-trained
Le Richebourg, the Gary Moore-trained Knocknanuss and Terence O’Brien’s
Articulum among the eight declarations.
The first of Sunday’s four Grade 1 races is the Tattersalls
Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle where old rivals Sir Erec and Tiger Tap Tap,
trained by Joseph O'Brien and Willie Mullins respectively, are among the 11
horses declared, while the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle has a field of nine runners
including Gordon Elliott’s Vision D’honneur and the Mullins-trained Aramon and
The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi faces a strong
home team headed by Delta Work and the Aidan Howard-trained Winter Escape in
the Flogas Novice Chase for which eight will go to post.
Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said,
“We have been waiting for a year for the Dublin Racing Festival to come around.
The excitement has really been building for the past few weeks and it looks
like we are going to have two wonderful days to remember. The weather appears
to be finally playing its part too.”