Ideal going expected for start of Leopardstown Christmas festival

Irish trio tackle big ascot handicap

“There might be a little rain before Christmas but I would guess we’ll start on yielding going which would be ideal,” said Pat Keogh, Leopardstown’s chief executive. Photograph: Inpho

“There might be a little rain before Christmas but I would guess we’ll start on yielding going which would be ideal,” said Pat Keogh, Leopardstown’s chief executive. Photograph: Inpho

 

Bleu Et Rouge head a three-pronged Irish attack on Ascot’s big handicap prize on Saturday but a blank weekend at home means all eyes are on St Stephen’s Day and the start of the Christmas action.

 Officials at Leopardstown predict “yielding” ground conditions for the beginning of their €1.3 million four-day festival which contains seven Grade One prizes. Final declarations for St Stephen’s Day are made on Saturday.

 Over 60,000 people are anticipated to go to the Co. Dublin track over the four days with 12,000 expected on Day One.

“The ground here is yielding, good in places, and the track is in perfect condition. There might be a little rain before Christmas but I would guess we’ll start on yielding going which would be ideal,” said Pat Keogh, Leopardstown’s chief executive.

 Keogh also indicated on Friday that building contractors are likely to begin work on the next phase of Leopardstown’s €35 million redevelopment after Irish Champions Weekend in September.

Next stage

Ground conditions at Limerick and Down Royal which also race on St Stephen’s Day are currently “heavy.”

 Willie Mullins’s Min is expected to start an odds-on favourite for the Day One festival highlight, the Racing Post Novice Chase, and the champion trainer will hope for a pre-Christmas boost at Ascot.

 He saddles the JP McManus owned Bleu Et Rouge in the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle. Barry Geraghty takes the ride.

 Gordon Elliott has won the race twice – Cause Of Causes (2012) and Bayan (2014) – and saddles Veinard this time while the father-son team of Tom and David Mullins rely on Top Othe Ra.

 McManus’s Gold Cup outsider Coney Island is set to have his first start in almost a year in the three-runner Sodexo Chase on the same card.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.