Leopardstown Racecourse have announced that the December Festival Hurdle is to be renamed The Istabraq Festival Hurdle (Grade 1) which will take place on Thursday 29th December and is the feature race on Day 4 of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
The race, which was won last year by Hurricane Fly last year, is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest hurldlers of this or any generation.
Istabraq wrote himself into the history books when landing three Champion Hurdles in a row between 1998 and 2000. He would almost certainly have made it four in a row had the 2001 Festival not been cancelled due to an outbreak of foot and mouth.
The son of Sadler’s Wells also had a love for Leopardstown. He won the December Festival Hurdle on four occasions between 1997 and 2001. He also came back and won the Irish Champion Hurdle four years in a row (1998 – 2001).
Commenting on the news, Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said “We are delighted to recognise the achievements of Istabraq by naming this race after him. We hope that this race will remind people of the wonderful horse he was and bring back fond memories for all national hunt racegoers. We would like to thank JP McManus for offering us the opportunity to name the race after Istabraq”.