The New Dublin Racing Festival Set to Whet the Appetite Ahead of Cheltenham
Many traditionalists were initially sceptical about the all-new Dublin Racing Festival, which is set to take place at the beginning of February, but, following the announcement of copious high-class entries and the forecasted bumper crowds, this inaugural event looks likely to be a huge success and it could become a firm favourite on the racing calendar.
Source: Racing Post via Twitter
The €1.5million initiative was announced in September 2017 in a bid to increase the awareness of racing in the Dublin area. The event, which will be held at Leopardstown Racecourse has estimated that a crowd of 24,000 will attend across the two days. Many of the top Irish trainers have signed-up for the event with the likes of Willie Mullins, Jessica Harrington and Gordon Elliott all set to showcase some of their top talent at the course. There will also be significant English interest across the card with the likes of Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, and Phillip Hobbs set to send some of their top-class string across the Irish Sea.
Buveur D’Air is one of the more eye-catching entries at the festival, with the Cheltenham hero likely to feature in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle, where the seven-year-old could line-up alongside Faugheen. This mouth-watering contest looks set to be a pre-cursor to March’s Champion Hurdle where the former is hoping to defend his crown following a dominant display in 2017. All of the key information about the Gloucestershire Festival can be found on their website and, according to William Hill, Beuveur D’Air is the overwhelming 8/13 favourite for this prestigious contest, which is seen as the zenith of the National Hunt season.
There are seven Grade 1 races taking place across the two days including Sunday’s Irish Gold Cup, which has attracted 22 entries all of whom are vying for a share of the €200,000 prize money. Jessica Harrington’s Our Duke is one of the many hopefuls taking part alongside Total Recall, Mala Beach, and Sub Lieutenant.
Christmas Festival winners Mr Adjudicator and Espoir D’allen both return to the track and look set to line-up in the Grade 1 Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle alongside Stormy Ireland and Farclas for Gordon Elliott.
Source: Leopardstown RC via Twitter
The racecourse has reported that tickets are selling quickly for the festival, which will aim to ‘celebrate Dublin’s richness and diversity’. The event will also combine street food, drink, comedy and music with the top class action on the turf and is hoping to become a staple of both the racing and cultural calendar.
The event is scheduled around five weeks prior to the Cheltenham Festival, helping make it a hugely exciting time for jumps fans. The new addition also now offers many of the top trainers an extra option when it comes to finding ideal warm-up races for their stable stars ahead of the March extravaganza. Many of the Cheltenham hopefuls in the UK are likely to keep their powder dry ahead of the trip to Gloucestershire but the Dublin Racing Festival offers punters an opportunity to cast their eye over some of the Irish contingent, who are likely to subsequently make the trip to Prestbury Park.
The Dublin Racing Festival looks set to shake up the National Hunt calendar and offers yet another opportunity to witness Grade 1 racing during the bleak winter months. The all-star cast set to compete at the event is a feather in the cap for the organisers and it is expected to act as the perfect precursor to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.