Thursday 22 March 2018

Sir set for top-class showcase

Best of Irish hopes on display at Leopardstown

Willie Mullins' unbeaten six-year-old Sir Des Champs is one of 12 horses the champion trainer has confirmed to take part in tomorrow's after-racing gallops at Leopardstown.

The popular pre-Cheltenham event has been made even more interesting this season as Leopardstown have worked with the Irish Trainers' Association and the supporting trainers to ensure that horses are made easily identifiable to the public.

Each horse will be given an assigned number cloth to make the commentary of the gallops easier and ensure that punters can pick out which horse is which.


Mullins has a mix of both Cheltenham and Grand National-bound horses as intended participants and the event has been strongly supported by the likes of Noel Meade, Dessie Hughes and Dermot Weld.

Trainers Tony Martin and Gordon Elliott are also due to have horses on show, but have yet to finalise plans and an updated list to the one carried in today's weekend Herald will be available at Leopardstown tomorrow.

Tom Copper's former Arkle Chase winner and now Ryanair Chase-bound Forpadydeplasterer will have a spin around the Foxrock venue as will Paul Flynn's Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice, who heads for the Coral Cup. Meade had entered Champion Chase or Ryanair Chase possibility Realt Dubh in a hurdle tomorrow but has instead opted for the after-racing gallop for the three-time Grade One winner who has yet to run this season.

Weld is set to bring two of his Cheltenham team -- Daffern Seal, who is entered in both the National Hunt Chase for amateurs and the Jewson Chase, and Merchant Royal who is a leading figure in the Foxhunters on Gold Cup Day also for amateurs.

At least five of the horses due to be on show tomorrow have Aintree Grand National entries and Leopardstown's operations manager Ness Joyce told the weekend Herald: "We have got a list of 31 horses so far, but this will be added to and a further list will be available at the races tomorrow.

"Tony Martin is due to bring some of his horses but has yet to finalise what, and Gordon Elliott is waiting to see what rain we get overnight before firming up his plans. "I am sure there will be other additions as well."


A Cheltenham preview night will take place in the Stillorgan Park (7.45) tomorrow night, in association with the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Admission is €20 (which includes racecard and finger food).

Racing experts such as Barry Geraghty, Davy Russell, Jessie Harrington, Henry de Bromhead, Tony Mullins and Leo Powell will be present to mark your card ahead of the big festival.

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