ON Sunday, February 4th, the €100,000 Chanelle Pharma Handicap Chase, registered as the Leopardstown Handicap Chase, boasts a record entry of 67 horses which is up from 40 a year ago. Total Recall will be bidding to add to his thrilling success in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury in early December and Black Hercules, Polidam, Townshend and Benie Des Dieux also feature among Willie Mullins’ entry. The Gordon Elliott-trained A Toi Phil tops the weights after his decisive win in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles yesterday. The Storyteller and Tombstone also figure highly in Elliott’s team. Harry Fry has entered his Hell’s Kitchen, a winner at Kempton on St Stephen's Day, and his owner JP McManus might also be represented by the Philip Dempsey-trained Teacher’s Pet which was perhaps a little unlucky not to win at Thurles yesterday.
The Coral Hurdle, on the opening afternoon, has attracted 50 entries, an increase of 15 on last year. Topping the weights for the €100,000 contest is the Gordon Elliott-trained Capmeador and the season’s leading trainer could also call upon recent Limerick Grade 3 winner Duca De Thaix, the exciting four-year-old Mitchouka and Ben Dundee.
Joseph O'Brien’s two entries, Ivanovich Gorbatov and last season’s Guinness Galway Hurdle winner Tigris River can be found towards the top of the handicap while Willie Mullins is not short of options and among his early entries are Lagostovegas, Bleu Et Rouge, Meri Devie, Deal D’estruval and Low Sun. Trainwreck, an impressive winner over this course and distance at the Christmas festival, heads a strong entry for trainer Henry De Bromhead while last year’s winner of the race, Noel Meade’s Ice Cold Soul, Gavin Cromwell’s Spades Are Trumps and Off You Go, a wide margin winner at Limerick over Christmas for in-form Charles Byrnes, are other notable entries.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Don’t Touch It and Henry De Bromhead’s Ordinary World head the weights for the €75,000 Sandyford Handicap Chase. Willie Mullins again boasts a strong entry with Polidam, Benie Des Dieux and Townshend among his contingent. Course and distance winner Elusive Ivy has been entered by Gavin Cromwell, while Arthur Moore’s Dandridge, Tom Mullins’ That’s A Wrap, the Alan Fleming-trained Tully East, Tim Doyle’s Mallowney and Harry Fry’s Hell’s Kitchen also make plenty of appeal.
On Sunday, the William Fry Handicap Hurdle is worth €75,000 and boasts an entry of 49 horses, headed by Prince Of Scars which won the Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle over this course and distance for Gordon Elliott in 2015. Davids Charm landed a couple of big pots for trainer John Joe Walsh last year and is an interesting entry, as are the improving Mind’s Eye and Dicey O’Reilly for Henry De Bromhead and Charles Byrnes’ recent Cork winner Lite Duties. A little further down the weights, Total Recall catches the eye for trainer Willie Mullins.
Ellie Mac, trained by Henry De Bromhead, was a popular winner at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and she is among 26 horses entered for the €75,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle. Willie Mullins horses dominate at the head of the handicap with Karalee and Meri Devie sharing top weight with Pravalaguna close in behind while a little further down the handicap is Contingency which was a winner for the champion trainer at Galway in September and has not raced since. Canelie has found winning form again since a switch to Harry Fry and would be an intriguing cross-channel raider.
Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “We are all very excited about the Dublin Racing Festival which is only around the corner. The entries for the handicaps are very strong and this is a weekend of racing not to be missed.”