Kick off at the Curragh….
Stuccodor to attempt to win back to back Tote Irish Lincolnshires at the Curragh this Sunday.
The Dermot Weld trained Stuccodor tops the weights for the Tote Irish Lincolnshire, the feature race on the opening day of the new flat season which gets underway at the Curragh on Sunday afternoon 29th March.
Last year’s winner is the highest rated of 29 horses that remain in the race at the five-day entry stage which include four British entries.
Ger Lyons is responsible for three of the runners including Unsinkable who is the current 7/1 favourite with bookmakers Paddy Power and is due to have just his second start for the County Meath based trainer in the prestigious €100,000 handicap, having won at Leopardstown last October.
The Group 3 Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes also features on Sunday’s opening Curragh fixture and some of the stand out fillies that could contest this race include Dermot Weld’s Afternoon Sunlight, the Tommy Stack trained Alive Alive Oh and Paul Deegan’s course and distance winner Avenue Gabriel.
Curragh based trainer Deegan is looking forward to starting Avenue Gabriel off the season. “Avenue Gabriel has wintered very well, she finished last year on a great note winning a listed race at Naas and I think there is plenty more to come from her,” Deegan said.
“She’s a dual listed winner and this looks an obvious race for her and a lovely starting point and she definitely goes there with a chance although she’ll come on for the run like most of them will at this stage of the year.”
Indeed, Deegan will also be represented by Aussie Valentine in the Lincoln and Deegan is hopeful that a wind-operation may see him run a big race.
“He sneaks in at the bottom of the handicap, he’s a two-time winner and we’ve done a wind-op on him and that seems to have worked but we’ll know more after the weekend and the stiff mile should suit him.”
The action gets underway with the Tally Ho Stud two-year-old maiden which has been won by some nice types in the past including Dawn Approach and his trainer Jim Bolger has entered a Godolphin owned colt called Tribal Beat, while the sole Aidan O’Brien entry for the race is a filly called Californiadreaming.
As is now an annual date at the opening Curragh meeting, Aidan O’Brien will also have a big team of horses to gallop after racing on Sunday and manager Paul Hensey expects to of his biggest names to be on show.
“Aidan O’Brien has booked in a big team of horses to gallop after racing and I suspect they will include many of the favourites for this seasons Classic races,” Hensey said.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s opening meeting, he added; “This is the start of a very significant year for us at the Curragh as we’ll have the 150th running of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in June and it’s terrific to be starting back with what looks to be a strong and very competitive looking Tote Irish Lincolnshire.”
The Curragh will also be honouring former trainer Joanna Morgan with the six-furlong handicap being named in her honour. “We felt that Joanna had a long association with the Curragh both as a jockey and as a trainer and that it would be fitting at our first meeting of the season to acknowledge that with the race and we look forward to seeing her back.
Hensey is currently describing the ground as “yielding” and he commented; “We’re looking at mostly dry weather, with some showers on Wednesday and maybe Saturday morning but generally it is to be cold and dry and obviously it depends on how much rain falls but I expect the ground to be yielding for Sunday.”
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