Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tote backing Punchestown Gold Cup

Tote Ireland are to sponsor one of Ireland’s top staying chases, the Punchestown Gold Cup. The race will now be called the thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup, promoting Tote Ireland’s online pool betting website. The 2012 Gold Cup is valued at €140,000 with a lucrative €85,400 going to the winner. The race has been highlighted as a possible option for 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run and will as usual attract all of Ireland’s leading staying chasers.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Dick O’Sullivan, manager of Punchestown said: “We are delighted to welcome the Tote as title sponsors of the Gold Cup on Festival Wednesday. The race will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Festival week and we were delighted to see that it remains a possible target for Long Run. We also look forward to continuing our long standing relationship with previous Gold Cup sponsor Diageo, who will continue to play a major role throughout the Festival and will sponsor The Grade A Guinness Handicap Steeplechase on Festival Wednesday as well as the very last race of the Festival on the Saturday each year, as they have done so for the past seven years. Saturday’s race is in aid of The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund and Diageo donate €15,000 to the charity each year as part of the relationship.”

Dryden Geary, marketing manager of Tote Ireland said: “The sponsorship will give us an ideal opportunity to introduce new customers to the exciting pool betting opportunities available on our website http://www.thetote.com and to reward our current account holders for their continued custom.”

The 3m 1f Grade 1 Gold Cup is the flagship staying chase of the Punchestown Festival and takes place this year on Wednesday 25th April 2012, when Ireland’s top racehorses will compete for a €140,000 prize fund. Entries for the Gold Cup close on April 4th 2012 with potential challengers including Nicky Henderson’s Long Run and Riverside Theatre, Quel Esprit for Willie Mullins, Quito De La Roque for Colm Murphy and Rubi Light for Robbie Hennessy.

The 2011 Punchestown Gold Cup had a thrilling finish which saw the Tom Doyle ridden Follow the Plan triumph for Oliver McKiernan ahead of the Dessie Hughes trained Vic Venturi, with Cheltenham 2012 Champion Jockey Barry Geraghty on board.

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Curragh Classics attract impressive entries

The second entry stage for four of the five Irish Classic races closed showing a healthy increase compared in 2011.

Amongst the eight additional entries for The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby which will be run on Saturday evening 30th June are the John Oxx trained Call To Battle, together with the Godolphin owned pair of impressive maiden winner Swedish Sailor and Group 1 winner Mandaean (formerly trained in France by Andre Fabre, while Sir Henry Cecil has made a further five entries including the highly thought of Wrotham Health.

Camelot, Born To Sea, Akeed Mofeed, Daddy Long Legs and Parish Hall are just some of the impressive list of Irish trained entries from the initial entry stage for the €1.2 million contest.

The John Oxx trained Akeed Wafi, an impressive winner at Gowran Park last September, is one of nine additional entries for the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas taking place on Saturday 26th May. The Godolphin owned Group 1 winner Mandaean, French trained Group 3 winner Abtaal trained by Jean Claude Rouget, together with Continuum trained by Sir Henry Cecil and the Richard Hannon trained Bronterre are other notable entries.

The former Jessica Harrington trained Dragon Pulse now with French-based trainer Mikel Delzangles, Camelot, Power, Top Offer and Nephite were all entered at the first entry stage.

The Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas taking place the following day on 27thMay has attracted a further seven entries. These include Naas Maiden winner Bulbul, together with the Godophin owned pair of Shadwell Fillies Mile winner Lyric of Light and Discourse. Group one winners La Colina, Lightning Pearl and Maybe were amongst the initial entries for the Group 1 Classic.

The Patrick Prendergast Coral Wave is amongst fourteen second entries for the Darley Irish Oaks taking place on Sunday 22nd July. This represents a significant increase from the 2011 figure. Other notable entries include the John Oxx-trained Shebella, the Godolphin owned Lyric of Light and five fillies trained by Sir Henry Cecil.

Plateur and So You Think, third and fourth in the Dubai World Cup, look set to renew rivalry in the Tattersalls Gold Cup according to their respective trainers. The Group 1 contest takes place as one of the highlights of the Abu Dhabi Irish Guineas Festival, while another highlight of the festival, His Highness The President of the UAE Cup, the only race run in Ireland for pure bred Arabian horses, has been promoted to Listed race status and is likely to attract some top class runners from all over Europe. The Emirates Equestrian Federation is hopeful that the race will be further upgraded in 2013. It is hoped that an Irish trained horse will compete in the race in the near future.