Tag Archives: horse

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.

Oxx to train Sea The Stars progeny

In the news recently:

Perhaps the first progeny of Sea The Stars to be named is being lined up to be campaigned by the great colt’s trainer John Oxx.

SeaThe Star’s first crop are still only yearlings but a filly by the 2000 Guineas, Derby, and Arc winner has been named She’s Mine.

An €800,000 foal, the filly belongs to the Araci family, who have also moved last year’s Craven winner and Guineas third Native Khan to Currabeg.

She’s Mine was bought at Goffs last year as a long-term breeding prospect for the Aracis.

Bred by Jim Bolger’s Redmondstown Stud, she is out of the Danehill mare Scribonia who has already produced 1000 Guineas runner-up Cuis Ghaire and 1000 Guineas third Gile Na Greine, also second in the Coronation Stakes.

She was purchased on behalf of the Aracis by Rob Speers, who said last November: “She’s a foundation mare. She’s a fantastic filly from an excellent family and over the last twelve months the good fillies and mares at the breeding stock sales having been coming in at a premium price range. €800,000 is a lot of money but we believe that she represents a sound investment”.

Fairyhouse reducing Easter ticket prices

Fairyhouse Racecourse have reduced admission prices and package prices for the 2012 Easter Festival. The three-day Festival (8th – 10th April 2012) features the Powers Gold Cup on Easter Sunday, and the iconic €250,000 Ladbrokes Irish Grand National on Easter Monday.

This year Easter Monday’s admission is only €20 (reduced from €25 in 2011) while admission on Sunday and Tuesday is €15 for each day (reduced from €20 in 2011).

The popular Ladbrokes Party Pack which includes admission, racecard, €5 Ladbrokes bet, a drink voucher and a food voucher will be just €30 for Easter Monday and €25 for the other two days.

The Bobbyjo Bistro package which includes a four-course lunch, admission, racecard, reserved table, tipster, for Easter Monday has also been reduced from €170 to €140.

Peter Roe, Manager of Fairyhouse said: “Fairyhouse has over the last 18 months taken a very proactive position on pricing and customer comfort. All our 2011 prices have been reduced by at least 20%. The Ladbrokes Party pack offers exceptional value and we look forward to welcoming a large crowd to Fairyhouse at Easter where we will be providing top class entertainment and offering excellent value for money”.

Jog For Jockeys 2012

The second running of ‘Jog for Jockeys’ in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund will take place at 12 noon on Sunday 29th July at three Irish Racecourses: The Curragh, Leopardstown and Limerick. Hector O’hEochagain and Nina Carberry launched the 2012 event in which last year over 780 people took part in and raised €25,000.

Amongst the participants in the inaugural ‘Jog for Jockey’s were well known faces including jockeys Barry Geraghty, Katie Walsh, Nina Carberry, Gary Carroll, Shane Foley, Andrew Duff, Andrew McNamara, Ben Curtis and Wayne Lordan; Trainers Gordon Elliot, Willie McCreery and Conor O’Dwyer; RTE’s Hector O’hEochagain and Shane O’Donoghue; Rugby’s Mick O’Driscoll; RACE apprentice jockeys and staff from Derrinstown Stud.

Organiser, Audrey O’Dwyer said: “We are delighted to be running the ‘Jog for Jockeys’ again this year. Just like last year there will be a great atmosphere on the three courses and we really do want people to take part – you can walk or run it, it’s really all about participation and we hope it will grow even more this year.”

Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Turf Club Senior Medical Officer said: “Thank you to all who supported the first ‘Jog for Jockeys’. I would like to reiterate what I said last year by doing so you supported the bravest men and women in Irish sport. Every time they mount a horse, they are putting their bodies on the line. What other sportsperson has a minimum of two ambulances and a doctor travelling behind them as they participate? Our riders travel at 35-40 mph on a half-ton of horsepower with the risk of falling at anytime from a height of three metres.

“Last year saw two of our flat jockeys suffer very serious injuries. Among our National Hunt jockeys, we recorded 13 cases of concussion, 36 fractures and multiple other injuries. Apart from the contributions to the Injured Jockeys Fund from owners, trainers and jockeys etc, fundraisers such as this are essential to maintain sufficient funds to support our jockeys when out injured and pay appropriate medical expenses.”

Follow http://www.jogforjockeys.ie on the web, Facebook and Twitter to find out all the latest news.

Biggest Chelt Fest preview night 2012

The Boylesports.com Cheltenham preview night is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday 7th March, in the Leopardstown Pavilion. Boylesports.com is hosting this event in association with the Irish Racing Post and Leopardstown racecourse and all proceeds from the night will go to the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association (IMNDA).

The star-studded preview panel on display at this event sets it apart from every other Cheltenham preview night, with the UK and Ireland’s top racing experts sharing their opinion and knowledge.

The panel consists of Jonathan Mullin, Willie Mullins, Tom Segal, Anthony Bromley, Davy Russell and Paudie Hassett.

In addition, this is the only panel on which Willie Mullins will sit in Ireland which means attendees on the night can expect exclusive insights from the Mullins’ yard. Also, more sporting legends such as Jimmy Magee, RTE’s famous sportscaster, known as the ‘Memory Man’ is confirmed to appear during the night.

There is an expected attendance of over 600 people on the night. Tickets are available for purchase on http://www.leopardstown.com and will be left out for collection on the night. Tickets are also available in selected Boylesports shops; Suffolk St. / Camden St. / Parnell St. / Blackrock / Shankill / Bray / Crumlin / Dundrum / Kimmage / Greystones. Pre-booking is advised but tickets will be available on the night on a first-come first-served basis.

For anyone who cannot make it on the night but would like to contribute, donations can still be made by visiting http://www.imnda.ie. A video recording of the night will also be available on the Boylesports website.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this fantastic event. The panel for Wednesday’s preview night is exceptional and promises to provide ample information and tips ahead of the highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival. We are especially pleased that all proceeds will be going to a very special cause, the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association. I would like to thank Boylesports and the Racing Post for organising what will be a wonderful and informative night’s entertainment.”

Leopardstown slip into Cheltenham mode

Leopardstown racecourse has enjoyed three hugely successful race meetings so far this year; the January Jumps weekend featuring the Boylesports.com Handicap Hurdle, the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle and the highly acclaimed Hennessy Gold Cup.

Year after year, these races have provided racegoers with informative clues as to potential winners in Cheltenham. The Road to Cheltenham series invited racegoers to come and see some of the leading contenders go into battle during the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival.

Traditionally this race meeting has been used by many trainers to finalise racecourse work on some of their principle contenders in preparation for hopeful Cheltenham glory and this Sunday is no exception with a competitive seven card meeting.

The feature race, The Carrickmines Handicap Steeplechase at 4pm presents a dozen runners with the weights headed by recent Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup runner-up, Roberto Goldback, while last year’s Irish Grand National hero, Organisedconfusion and the promising Ted Walsh trained novice, Colbert Station, are also in the line-up.

Two more interesting runners are last season’s Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup winner, Follow The Plan, and the Tony Martin-trained Montan, who has been running consistently well over fences and hurdles this season.

In other races, the Ballsbridge Hurdle has attracted seven competitors to face the starter and here the Charles Byrnes trained Pittoni clashes with the Dermot Weld trained New Phase while other interesting runners in a tight contest are the 2008 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle runner-up, Osana, the useful Won In the Dark and the smart mare, Oilily.

The concluding Killiney Pro-Am Flat Race sees the Jessica Harrington trained Jezki bid to follow up his winning debut effort over this course in late January.

Finally, in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Steeplechase, Noel Meade’s recent Grade 2 Navan winner, Donnas Palm is likely to start favourite to follow up.

For rugby fans, you won’t miss the action at Stade de France. Leopardstown will bring a little of ‘Les Blues’ and of course ‘Les Verts’ to the racecourse where racegoers can watch the match on the large screens around the racetrack, Tote hall and numerous bars. There will also be a little French gastronomic flavour to the day with French-themed food offerings including:- ham and cheese croissant with coffee for €5, French baguette with roast beef, brie, onions and blue cheese dressing for €5.60 and finally for the foodie, beef bourguignon with a glass of wine for €14.

After the last race, some of the Cheltenham festival-bound horses will school on the track including; Lucky William, Forpadydeplasterer, Barel of Laughs, Lord Windermere, He’llberemembered, Moon Dice, Becauseicouldntsee, Realt Dubh, Silverhand, Fisher Bridge, Dylan Ross, The Midnight Club, White Star Line, Deal Done, Rick (FR), Chill, Magnanimity, His Own, Quiscover Fontaine, Prince de Beauchene, Allee Garde, Soll, Boxer Georg, Sir Des Champs, Blackstairmountain, Raptor, Up the Beat, Call the Police, Your Busy, Daffern Seal and Merchant Royal.

The schooling will also be shown on the big screen and every horse will wear a numbered saddlecloth, making the commentary easy to follow.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: – “This Sunday will be a great sporting occasion as Leopardstown delivers fantastic live racing action and the perfect location for the sport enthusiast to watch the Rugby, our caterers are have come up with French-themed food offering too. It should be a fascinating day when opinions and tips will be flying right, left and centre. Quite simply it is the perfect pre-Cheltenham experience.”

The Irish Field to sponsor 10 races at The Curragh

The Irish Field has agreed to sponsor a series of 10 races at the Curragh this year. The first in the series will take place on the opening day of the flat racing season on Sunday, March 25th, while the series will culminate with the Listed Finale Stakes at the final day of the Curragh season on Sunday, October 14th.

The Irish Field, who have sponsored the Irish St Leger since 2003, will also be associated with the spectacle of the first race run in Ireland which will be restricted to horses registered as grey.

Commenting on the new sponsorship deal, The Irish Field’s managing editor Leo Powell said: “We have had a great association with the final classic of the year and during our involvement many new records and standards were set. The connection between us, the race and the Melbourne Cup has helped to promote our product to an international audience. We have decided now to refocus our marketing spend to cover the widest spectrum of equine activities, and the 10-race sponsorship at the Curragh will keep our brand name to the fore throughout the flat season.

“Readers will benefit too from the broad sponsorship and we will promote attendance at the races for the period of our sponsorship. We look forward to a competitive series of races.”

Evan Arkwright, Commercial Manager of the Curragh Racecourse, commented: “The Irish Field have been tremendous supporters of the Curragh and I am delighted that we will have them associated with so many of our race days this year. We plan to put together a variety of initiatives which will aim to benefit their readers on these days”.

Hanagan’s the Sheikh’s new man

Paul Hanagan has spoken of his excitement after being named Richard Hills’ successor as retained rider for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

However the two-times champion jockey, who takes up his new role when Hills retires on Dubai World Cup night on March 31, insists he will continue his association with Richard Fahey.

Hanagan told sportinglife.com “It’s obviously very exciting but I have to stress I wouldn’t have achieved anything like the success I have without the help of Richard (Fahey) and his team over the last 17 years.

“It was very emotional when I told him of the approach last night but I will ride for the yard whenever my new commitments allow.

“However having watched the great Hamdan horses over the years, since being at school, this was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan, said in a statement: “Following the recent announcement of Richard Hills’ retirement after the Dubai World Cup, I am pleased to announce that Paul Hanagan has agreed to ride as first jockey to Sheikh Hamdan for the 2012 season.

“Having been such an integral part of the very successful Richard Fahey team for so long I know that Paul will be a tremendous asset to our team.”

Hills, whose career spanned 33 years, rode five British Classic winners for Sheikh Hamdan, taking the 1000 Guineas on Harayir (1995), Lahan (2000) and Ghanaati (2009).

He officially announced his forthcoming retirement on Sunday.

Gold said that Hanagan will still be given the opportunity to ride Fahey’s horses, when possible.

He added: “I would like to express our thanks to Richard Fahey, and feel sure that both he and Paul will be keen to maintain their relationship when Paul’s commitments to Sheikh Hamdan allow, and we very much look forward to working with Paul in the coming years.

“At the same time I would like to pay tribute to Richard Hills and thank him for the enormous contribution he has made to the success of the Shadwell horses over the last 20 years or so, and hope we can continue to count on his experience in the future.”

(from Sportinglife.com)

Mullins lining them up for Navan this Sunday

Willie Mullins trains six of the 15 entries in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle, the feature event, of what promises to be an intriguing card at Navan this Sunday 15th February.

Zaidpour, a course winner over two and a half miles before Christmas, has looked back to the form this term that saw him win the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle early last season, defeating last year’s Boyne Hurdle winner Voler La Vedette in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle last time and now seeking to complete a four-timer.

Mikael D’Haguenet, also coming off a hat-trick of successes, won the Grade 1 Barry & Sandra Kelly Novice Hurdle around here in the past and he along with Final Approach and Zaidpour all hold engagements in both the Champion and World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Mourad filled the runner up berth to War Of Attrition in a thrilling Boyne Hurdle back in 2010, while Mullins is also represented by Cousin Vinny, the first to complete the Cheltenham/Punchestown Champion Bumper double back in 2008, who could make a welcome return to action on Sunday after a 669-day absence.

Mouse Morris is double handed in the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase with Four Commanders and the hat-trick seeking Rathlin and he said: “I’d say one of them will run, but I am not sure which one yet. I’ll know a bit more later in the week.”

Medical Card and Crash, who fought out a great finish in the Grade 2 Woodlands Novice Chase at Naas last month are other interesting contenders.

Gift Of Dgab, runner up to Flemenstar in the Grade 1 Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown last month, could represent Tony Martin and Gigginstown House Stud in the Grade 2 Flyingbolt Chase.

The first race is off at 1:50pm and general admission is €15.00 and €10.00 for seniors. There are dining packages available at €55.00 per person and the Sports Bar Package is priced at €20.00 (includes admission, access to VIP Bar, racecard, €5.00 Tote Betting Voucher and music after racing). Pre-booking is essential.