Parade of champions set to light up Christmas Festival
TOP hurdler Faugheen, Douvan and Yorkhill are among a steller list of entries from the Willie Mullins stable for the four-day Leopardstown Christmas Festival which begins on St Stephen’s Day. Also expected to line out from the yard of the champion trainer are Un De Sceaux, Min and Djakadam.
A high-class renewal of the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle on the Friday will hopefully see Faugheen topping the 10 entries for the €100,000 two-mile event.
Star mare Apple’s Jade could also fly the flag for Gordon Elliott, while British trainers Nicky Henderson and Dan Skelton could be represented by My Tent Or Yours and Ch’tibello.
On the opening day, the €90,000 Racing Post Novice Chase looks to be a race to savour with 18 entries. These include the impressive Navan winners Footpad and Al Boum Photo heading Willie Mullins’ challenge, along with the Punchestown winner Bon Papa.
On the Wednesday, Samcro puts his unbeaten record on the line in the €85,000 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle for which trainer Gordon Elliott has also entered his impressive Grade 1 Bar One Racing Royal Bond winner Mengli Khan.
Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Yorkhill heads the early entries for the Grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase on day three of the festival.
Jessica Harrington’s Sizing John, the first horse to win three Gold Cups in one season and crowned Horse of the Year at the annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards, has also been entered.
“The Christmas Festival is our showcase event and an integral part of the Irish racing calendar,” said Leopardstown Racecourse CEO Pat Keogh.
“To see the cream of Irish racing talent support our festival makes us very proud. We thank the owners, trainers, jockeys and sponsors of the 28 races — it wouldn’t be possible without them. The standard of entries is exceptional and we look forward to four days of top-class jumping action. We are really privileged at Leopardstown to host racing of this calibre.”
Faugheen made an impressive return to action at Punchestown last month