Honeysuckle, Frodon and a number of Christmas Festival winners feature among the entries for the eight Grade 1 races at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on Saturday, February 5 and Sunday, February 6.
Day 1 – Irish Gold Cup
The Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon is among 18 horses entered for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup which will feature on the opening day of the festival for the first time.
Nicholls previously rode the winner of the race in Playschool in 1988 and then trained Neptune Collonges to win in 2009. He has also entered his four-time Grade 1 winner Clan Des Obeaux in the Irish Gold Cup. His King George VI Chase conqueror Tornado Flyer is among an entry of eight in the race for Willie Mullins. The Closutton handler has also engaged Kemboy, last year’s Irish Gold Cup winner, Melon and Asterion Forlonge.
Galvin, successful in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, Mount Ida, Delta Work and Run Wild Fred are on the Gordon Elliott team. Minella Indo and Eklat De Rire have been entered by Henry de Bromhead.
Day 2 – Irish Champion Hurdle
Sunday’s feature is the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle and racing’s star mare Honeysuckle heads the dozen entries as she bids to become only the third horse after Istabraq and Hurricane Fly to win the race on more than two occasions.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare completed a hat-trick of wins in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on her seasonal reappearance at Fairyhouse in November. The Kenny Alexander-owned eight-year-old is bidding to extend her remarkable unbeaten winning streak to 14 under Rachael Blackmore.
Her trainer Henry de Bromhead is the only trainer to have won the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle with three different horses, Sizing Europe, Petit Mouchoir and Honeysuckle. He has also entered Quilixios in this year’s renewal. Willie Mullins has four entries, headed by last season’s leading novice hurdler Appreciate It. Leopardstown stalwart Sharjah, a four-time Matheson Hurdle winner and third in Irish Champion Hurdle last year is also among the Mullins string. The champion trainer also has Echoes In Rain and Saint Roi in the race.