Dermot Weld: Dempsey will run a big race at the Curragh
Trainer Dermot Weld has booked in-form jockey Luke Dempsey to claim off top weight Stuccodor who will bid for back-to-back wins in the Tote Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh on Sunday.
Declarations for the opening meeting at HQ were made today and fresh from a Cheltenham Festival winner earlier this month and a winner at Cork yesterday for his boss Gordon Elliott, Dempsey, who was formerly apprenticed to Johnny Murtagh, will switch codes to ride the top weight in the €100,000 contest.
“I think he’ll run a big race,” Weld said in a stable tour this week. “Luke Dempsey rode Hisaabaat for me at Cheltenham and I was impressed by everything about him. I think he’s a guy with a big future.”
Stuccodor also had the option of lining up in the English equivalent at Doncaster tomorrow afternoon but with the horse more likely to get his preferred softer conditions at the Curragh, Weld stayed local.
The Curragh has attracted five British-trained entries for their opening meeting of the year and an impressive looking field of 11 runners for the opening two-year-old maiden with each of the runners being trained by a different trainer.
Pat Smullen, who rides Weld’s other runner, Defining Year, in the Irish Lincoln, will be in Doncaster tomorrow however, along with fellow Irish-based rider Chris Hayes as they both picked up spare rides in the English Lincoln.
Smullen will team up with trainer George Baker on the course-and-distance winner Belgian Bill, while Hayes has picked up two mounts for Brian Ellison – Baraweez, who was twice a winner in Ireland last season, in the feature race and newcomer General Alexander in the opening two-year-old maiden.
Meanwhile, at Navan tomorrow, the Tony Martin-trained Flemenstar is the main attraction as he makes his eagerly anticipated return to action in the Grade Two Webster Cup.
Flemenstar, who will have a new rider onboard with Keith Donoghue getting the call, will face seven-rivals including a rare English raider as Donald McCain has sent over the 154 rated Desert Cry, with Flemenstar’s regular rider Andrew Lynch riding Tom Taaffe’s Argocat.