We are all looking forward to the 2017 renewal of the Irish Gold Cup, which takes place at Leopardstown on Sunday February 12th. Here are some of the horses that have already attracted a lot of interest, in our ante-post market…View Ante-Post Market Now!
The 8-year-old hasn’t won a race, since beating First Lieutenant by half a length in the 2015 G1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. Don Poli gamely tried to defend his crown, in December, but Outlander found just too much for him. Was pulled up, in the Down Royal Champion Chase previously but he’s generally a solid and dogged performer.
Empire Of Dirt
Like Don Poli, this Westerner-sired gelding is trained by Gordon Elliott. He raced 6 times in 2015 and only finished on 2 occasions, but 2016 was a different story. 3/3 in the calendar year, he won the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Cheltenham Festival) and bookended this success with victories in rich Irish handicaps. Has the momentum, but this will be a significant step-up in class.
Fell at the final fence last time out, in Listed company at Aintree, when making good progress. That race was won by the sadly-departed Many Clouds and the field also included Le Mercurey and Irish Cavalier. Minella Rocco looked the most-likely winner at Aintree, before he came to grief and given that the winner went on to beat Thistlecrack (at Cheltenham) the Jonjo O’Neill inmate looks a serious threat.
There’s no shortage of depth to our early ante-post market though and bets are also coming in for Carlingford Lough, Sizing John and also Zabana.
Leopardstown Racecourse is just a few short miles to the south of Dublin, which helps it to regularly attract crowds in big numbers. Both flat and National Hunt racing take place here.
Racing At Leopardstown
Captain George Quin was responsible for it’s construction and it is very-much based on Sandown Racecourse in England. There are over 20 meetings a year here and it is regarded as being among the most important courses is the Irish Republic.
Leopardstown is a place to see and be seen. It is full of good restaurants, designer clothing shops and even has a golf course at the centre of the track.
Other Big Leopardstown Races
Another important race to be held here is the Irish Champion Stakes. Part of the World Series of Racing, this fixture takes place in September and is open to horses that are aged at least three years. The distance is one mile and two furlongs.
Introduced back in the mid-1970s, it was originally called the Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes. The race was moved to Phoenix Park in the 1980s and renamed the Phoenix Champion Stakes. It was renamed again, when the race returned to Leopardstown. One of the reasons that owners and trainers find this race so enticing is that the winner receives an automatic invitation to the Breeders’ Cup.
Other important Leopardstown races include the Matron Stakes, the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, the Arkle Novice Chase, the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, the Dr P. J. Moriarty Novice Chase, the Lexus Chase and the December Festival Hurdle.
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