THE Turf Flat season swings back into action at the Curragh this Sunday, 24th March, when the first of 18 fixtures at the Home of the Irish Classics features the BetVictor Irish Lincolnshire Handicap and, the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud Park Express Stakes on a seven race programme starting at 2pm.
BetVictor sponsor the Irish Lincolnshire for the very first time and the 100,000 euro race has attracted 30 horses at today’s final forfeit stage, including last year’s runner up Ansaab, “He has been a hard horse to keep afloat and while he is alittle behind, he ran a smashing race last year and the intention is to try to go one better this year,” said his trainer Kevin Prendergast.
The race has also attracted four British-trained entries in Anton Chigurh, Laffan and the Richard Fahey pair of Our Boy Jack and Dakota Canyon.
Curragh based trainer Dermot Weld has left in two horses in Tandem and the hat-trick seeking Stuccodor, while Aidan O’Brien is represented by both Triumphant and Beach Of Falesa. Top weight Custom Cut (George Kent), Sweet Lightning and Campanology (both Tommy Carmody) and the Jim Bolger-trained pair of Miracle Cure and Cul Baire and Hujaylea trained by Michael Halford are other notable entries.
“We are delighted to be sponsoring at the Curragh, the Irish Lincolnshire is sure to attract an ultra-competitive field for a record purse and we are proud to lend our name to the race which is sure to be a strong betting heat to mark the start of the Irish flat turf season.” said Charlie McCann, director of Online Public Relations Victor Chandler Worldwide
Beach Of Falesa has also been given an entry for the Group Three Lodge Park Stud Park Express Stakes for which a maximum of nine runners will face the starter. Also included among the entries for the one miles fillies contest are La Collina winner of the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes as a two year old, Magical Dream, Bunairgead and Yellow Rosebud.
Trainer Kevin Prendergast said, “La Collina is an intended runner but this will be ground dependant while Star bright will more than likely take her chance.”
Festive Cheer, Francis Of Assisi and King Of The Romans are the three Aidan O’Brien trained possible runners among the 15 entries for the 200th running of the Gabriel Curran Memorial Madrid Handicap. Jim Bolger is also well represented here with Einsteins Folly and Wexford Opera, while Sherzam and Muaanid are two other notable entries.
The unbeaten and subsequent leading European juvenile of 2012 Dawn Approach launched his spectacular season in the Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden (the opening juvenile contest of the season) and his trainer Jim Bolger is double handed this year with Heart Focus and Saburo. Aidan O’Brien, meanwhile, is responsible for five of the 13 entries and can choose between Coach House, Cougar Mountain, Craftsman, Stubbs and Wilshire Boulevard.
Meanwhile, trainer Aidan O’Brien once again intends to bring a string of horses to the Curragh on Sunday to work after racing. “We have done this for the past few years and the intention is to do it again,” he said. “It’s great to get the horses away for the day and it’s always been a useful exercise. We hope to issue a list of horses that will work after racing nearer the time.”