Handicaps popular for Irish Champions Weekend
The entries for the four €150,000 EBF-sponsored handicaps on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh on September 12th and 13th, including a total of 56 horses from Britain, have been announced today.
The Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap, which was won last year by the John Kiely-trained Toe The Line and will be run as the third race at Leopardstown on September 12th, has attracted 64 entries.
A total of 13 British-trained horses have been put in the one mile and six furlongs event. Clondaw Warrior, Windsor Park, Thomas Edison, Bayan, Modem and Western Boy are the leading Irish contenders at this stage, while Seamour, Gabrial’s King and Polarisation head the British challenge.
The final race on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Sovereign Path’ Handicap which will be run over seven furlongs. The Brian Ellison-trained Baraweez and Colm O’Donoghue took this in 2014 and five-year-old features among the 53 entries, 18 of which are from Britain. Mohaayed and Eastern Rules head the home defence while Kelinni, a multiple winner in Australia, the three-time Listed winner Boomshackerlacker and the Group 3 winner Ayaar feature among the strong British team.
The six furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Handicap gets the action at the Curragh underway on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday, September 13th.
This went to David O’Meara’s Watchable last year and British trainers look to have a strong hand once again and are responsible for 16 of the 44 entries. Russian Soul, Great Minds and Balmont Mast are just three Irish-trained entries to note while Magical Memory and George Bowen are both notable recent winners cross channel.
The final race on Longines Irish Champions Weekend is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap which is being run over a distance of one and two furlongs. Colm O’Donoghue completed an Irish Champions Weekend handicap double on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Adjusted when the race was run over one and a half miles last year.
A total of 47 entries have been received, with nine coming from Britain. Flaming Spear, who contested the French 2,000 Guineas on just his third start, and Space Age would be intriguing British-trained runners while the likes of Roheryn, Brendan Bracken and I’ll Be Your Clown hold leading chances from a home point of view.
Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “The four EBF handicaps on Longines Irish Champions Weekend carry impressive prize-money and are sure to be hotly contested again this year. What I’m most delighted about is the strength of the entry from Britain. It just goes to show the appeal of the programme we have put together.”
Paul Hensey, Manager of the Curragh Racecourse, said, “Such is the attraction of the handicaps on Longines Irish Champions Weekend, we have altered the distance of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap by two furlongs this time around to avoid a cross-over of entries with the Group 3 KPMG Enterprise Stakes which will be run over a mile and a half at Leopardstown on the previous day. The standard of our premier handicaps is outstanding.”
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