Road to Respect and Our Duke are among the entries for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup that takes place at Leopardstown on Sunday the 4th of February.
There are 22 intended runners for a race that is the highlight of the two-day Dublin Racing Festval.
Road to Respect was an impressive winner of the Leopardstown Chase over Christmas for the Noel Meade stable while Our Duke who was one of the stand out novices in 2017 and tore a good field apart when taking the Irish Grand National is fixed for a return to the track after getting injured on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal in October.
As well as those two the likes of Anibale Fly who was victorious in the Paddy Power Chase in December, Coney Island, Djakadam and possibly most intriguing of all Willie Mullins’s Killultagh Vic are all entered with the latter proving a curious entry as he is been throw in at the deep end in what will only be his third race in two years after suffering serious injury.
The two-day meeting is not only about the Irish Gold Cup though with six other grade one races down for decision.
The meeting will take a major focal point for all of Ireland’s big stars before they head to the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The likes of Faugheen, Monalee, Samcro, Min, Espoir D’Allen, Footpad, Petit Mouchoir and Yorkhill who are all shortlisted for the big races at Cheltenham are all expected to show up here on route to the Cotswolds.
This is the debut season of the Dublin Racing Festival as it follows the format of the Irish Champions weekend which takes place in Leopardstown and the Curragh in September on the flat and it will be interesting to see how the jumping equivalent fares going forward.