The entries and weights for the five handicap races at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on Saturday, February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th have been announced.
The Coral Hurdle, on the opening afternoon, has attracted 50 entries, an increase of 15 on last year. Topping the weights for the €100,000 contest is the Gordon Elliott-trained Capmeador and the season’s leading trainer could also call upon recent Limerick Grade 3 winner Duca De Thaix, the exciting four-year-old Mitchouka and Ben Dundee.
Joseph O’Brien’s two entries, Ivanovich Gorbatov and 2017 Guinness Galway Hurdle winner Tigris River are towards the top of the handicap while among Willie Mullins’ entries are Lagostovegas, Bleu Et Rouge, Meri Devie, Deal D’estruval and Low Sun. Trainwreck, a winner at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, heads a strong entry for trainer Henry De Bromhead while last year’s winner of the race, Noel Meade’s Ice Cold Soul, Gavin Cromwell’s Spades Are Trumps and Off You Go, a Limerick winner over Christmas for in-form Charles Byrnes, are other notable entries.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Don’t Touch It and Henry De Bromhead’s Ordinary World head the weights for the €75,000 Sandyford Handicap Chase. Willie Mullins boasts a strong entry with Polidam, Benie Des Dieux and Townshend among his contingent. Course and distance winner Elusive Ivy has been entered by Gavin Cromwell, while Arthur Moore’s Dandridge, Tom Mullins’ That’s A Wrap, the Alan Fleming-trained Tully East, Tim Doyle’s Mallowney and Harry Fry’s Hell’s Kitchen are other notable entries.
On Sunday, February 4th, the €100,000 Chanelle Pharma Handicap Chase (registered as the Leopardstown Handicap Chase), boasts a record entry of 67 horses, up from 40 last year. Total Recall will be bidding to add to his success in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury in December and Black Hercules, Polidam, Townshend and Benie Des Dieux also feature among Willie Mullins’ entry. Gordon Elliott’s A Toi Phil tops the weights after his decisive win in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles on Sunday last. The Storyteller and Tombstone figure highly in Elliott’s team. Harry Fry has entered his Hell’s Kitchen, a winner at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day, and his owner JP McManus might also be represented by the Philip Dempsey-trained Teacher’s Pet.
The William Fry Handicap Hurdle is worth €75,000 and boasts an entry of 49 horses, headed by Prince Of Scars, winner of the Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle over course and distance for Gordon Elliott in 2015. David’s Charm provided trainer John Joe Walsh with some success last year and is an interesting entry, as are the improving Mind’s Eye and Dicey O’Reilly for Henry De Bromhead and Charles Byrnes’ Cork winner Lite Duties. A little further down the weights, Total Recall catches the eye for trainer Willie Mullins.
Ellie Mac, trained by Henry De Bromhead, a popular winner at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is among 26 horses entered for the €75,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle. Willie Mullins’ horses dominate at the head of the handicap with Karalee and Meri Devie sharing top weight with Pravalaguna close in behind while a little further down the handicap is Contingency which was a winner for the champion trainer at Galway in September.