herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Curragh set for flat season to start

Flat racing returns to the Curragh this weekend as the turf season gets underway with the Tote Irish Lincoln being the feature race at HQ.

The Dermot Weld-trained Stuccodor will bid to buck the trends and win the race for a second consecutive year but he'll have to carry top weight to do so with the Ger Lyons trained Unsinkable, who is at the other end of the weights, the current 7/1 favourite for the €100,000 contest.

There is also Group Three action with the Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes featuring some noteworthy entires including the Paul Deegan trained Avenue Gabriel who finished off last season by winning in listed company at Naas.

Her trainer commented: "Avenue Gabriel has wintered very well, she finished last year on a great note winning a listed race at Naas and I think there is plenty more to come from her and the ground on Sunday should be ideal."

Racecourse manager Paul Hensey described the ground at HQ for their first meeting as yielding and also revealed that there could be some of Aidan O'Brien's (inset) leading names on show after the last race.

"Aidan O'Brien has booked in a big team of horses to gallop after racing and I suspect they will include many of the favourites for this seasons Classic races," Hensey said.

Meanwhile, Navan on Saturday could be the venue for the return of Grade One winner Flemenstar who hasn't raced since November 2013 when he made a winning debut for trainer Tony Martin after a highly successful career with Peter Casey.

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