Chanelle Pharma is delighted to support the Irish racing industry by sponsoring this iconic race. The Irish Champion Hurdle has had an illustrious history and is associated with equine heroes such as Hatton’s Grace, Flying Bolt, L’Escargot and Istabraq. Chanelle’s Animal Health products are used by many involved in this industry and it gives me great pleasure to support a sector I am passionate about
Hopes are high in the Henry de Bromhead camp that Honeysuckle can bounce back to winning ways in the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Kenny Alexander’s star mare suffered her first defeat when returning at Fairyhouse in December and now five rivals stand between her and a fourth straight Irish Champion Hurdle success on what will be her final outing at the Dublin track.
State Man and Vauban, both trained by Willie Mullins and no stranger to Leopardstown Grade 1 success themselves, are easily identified as the biggest dangers to Rachael Blackmore’s mount, with the Gordon Elliott-trained Pied Piper and Zanahiyr, and the Tom Mullins-trained Takarengo completing the line-up.
Chanelle Pharma chief executive Michael Burke says: “Chanelle Pharma is delighted to support the Irish racing industry by sponsoring this iconic race. The Irish Champion Hurdle has had an illustrious history and is associated with equine heroes such as Hatton’s Grace, Flying Bolt, L’Escargot and Istabraq. Chanelle’s Animal Health products are used by many involved in this industry and it gives me great pleasure to support a sector I am passionate about.”
The first of four Grade 1 races on Sunday’s stellar card is the Ladbrokes Novice Chase with the Elliott-trained Mighty Potter topping this morning’s six declarations. He faces five Willie Mullins-trained runners with James Du Berlais and Gaillard Du Mesnil featuring on the champion trainer’s team.
Blue Lord and Gentleman De Mee give Mullins the strongest hand in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase, a race the champion trainer has won for the past seven years. Looking to break that sequence are Sceau Royal, Alan King’s first runner at the Dublin Racing Festival, the Pat Fahy-trained Dunvegan and Martin Brassil’s Fastorslow.
Nicola McGeady head of PR at Ladbrokes said: “The competition is going to be fierce at this year’s festival and although Willie Mullins is the man we will be running scared from, he may not have it all his own way in our races with Mighty Potter and Blue Lord the ones to beat.”
Mullins also looks to have a stranglehold on the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle with Facile Vega, Il Etait Temps and Dark Raven set to line out. The main opposition is likely to come from Joseph O'Brien’s High Definition and Henry de Bromhead’s Inthepocket.
The Stuart Crawford-trained Lily Du Berlais bids for an unusual double in the Grade 2 Coolmore NH Sires ‘Santiago’ Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race, a race she won 12 months ago. Up against her this time in the eight-runner field are two from the Willie Mullins stable, the Cork winner Fancy Girl and runaway Sligo scorer Fun Fun Fun and the Jessica Harrington-trained Marie Philippe.
Davy Russell announced his short-lived retirement after winning on Liberty Dance at Thurles before Christmas and Gordon Elliott’s looks a leading contender for Sunday’s opening contest, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle. Risk Belle is one of three from the Willie Mullins yard and other leading ante-post fancies among the 23 declarations include the Tony Martin-trained Innatendue, Ted Walsh’s Gaoth Chuil and the Liz Doyle-trained Ballybawn Belter.
There are also 23 runners set for the Bulmers Handicap Chase with Gordon Elliott’s Indigo Breeze and Henry de Bromhead’s Maskada featuring among them. Birchdale and Foxy Jacks, first and second in last year’s race for trainers Enda Bolger and Mouse Morris respectively turn out again along with the Eric McNamara-trained Real Steel, winner of the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival and the Stuart Crawford-trained Now Where Or When.
Willie Mullins’ Gaelic Warrior tops the weights for the two-mile Festina Lente Charity Liffey Handicap Hurdle. At the opposite end of the handicap is the Joseph O'Brien-trained four-year-old Common Practice while All Those Years is out to give Charles Byrnes a fifth success in the race. The Tony Martin-trained Good Time Jonny and Tom Mullins’ Hey Johnny will also have their supporters