Denman leads Lexus contenders

Denman appeared among 17 contenders for the Lexus Chase as the entries for the major races at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival were published.

Denman appeared among 17 contenders for the Lexus Chase as the entries for the major races at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival were published.

Last season’s Gold Cup runner-up landed the feature event of the meeting back in 2007 and trainer Paul Nicholls has already reported this to be his likely starting point for the campaign.

The race, held on December 28, has attracted many other smart performers including Joncol, Quito De La Roque, Rubi Light, Skippers Brig, Synchronised and Tranquil Sea.

The meeting starts on December 26 with the Racing Post Novice Chase, where the likes of Days Hotel, Raptor, Lambro, Sir Des Champs, Shot From The Hip and recent Drinmore winner Bog Warrior are entered.

There are nine entries in the feature for December 27, the Paddy Power Dial-a-Bet Chase, but all the best two-milers could be involved like Big Zeb, Noble Prince, Forpadydeplasterer and Sizing Europe.

The first eight home in the Troytown Chase at Navan last month all hold entries in the Paddy Power Chase, headed by the winner Groody Hill, while a seven-strong entry from Britain includes the David Pipe-trained Master Overseer and Grand Sefton winner Stewarts House.

Bog Warrior also has an entry in the Topaz Fort Leney Novice Chase on December 28 while a day later the top two-mile hurdlers come to the fore.

Reigning Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly is the headliner in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle, having taken the race last season.

Trainer Willie Mullins has five other entries including So Young, Thousand Stars and Zaidpour, while Colm Murphy has entered Voler La Vedette, winner of the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Dermot Weld’s Unaccompanied and the Edward O’Grady-trained The Real Article are other significant entries.

Leopardstown chief executive officer Pat Keogh said: “We are delighted with the entries for our early closing races.

“It is great to see so many champions amongst the entries and there is plenty of new talent ready to take them on.

“It is also nice to see a good number of English-trained horses aiming at the Festival. Leopardstown has seen some marvellous races over the years, where the best of Ireland and Great Britain take each other on.

“This adds another dimension to the racing and we are looking forward to a number of healthy battles over the Festival.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox