Leopardstown braced for gale force winds and heavy rain

Officials at Leopardstown will monitor weather conditions heading into today’s second day of the Christmas meeting with high winds and heavy rain forecast.

The Foxrock venue is due to hold one of its showpiece cards of the year, featuring the Dial-A-Bet Chase and the Future Champions Novice Hurdle.

Racing took place yesterday on ground officially described as soft.

A statement from the Turf Club read: “Given the forecast for high winds and heavy rain overnight and into tomorrow, the situation will be monitored at Leopardstown ahead of the fixture on Friday, December 27.

“A further weather update will be issued by 7.30am on Friday morning.”

Heading the cast for the Dial-A-Bet is former two-mile king Sizing Europe, who clashes with new kid on the block Arvika Ligeonniere and Arkle runner-up Baily Green as he looks to repeat last year’s success.

Star of the show in the Future Champions race is The Tullow Tank, winner of the Grade One Royal Bond at Fairyhouse.

Meanwhile, Noel Fehily was celebrating last night after steering Silviniaco Conti to victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old hunted down favourite Cue Card in the final stages to hand Nicholls his eighth King George.

Fehily, from Castletownkinneigh in West Cork, missed out on the chance to ride Kauto Star in 2010 and admitted he feared his chance of ever winning the race was gone.

“I was going to ride Kauto Star the year he got beat but I was injured and you wonder if you’re ever going to get another chance to win a King George,” Fehily said.

“I grew up watching Desert Orchid in this race, so to actually go and win it is unbelievable.

“I’ve not ridden a Gold Cup winner, but I hope he’s a Gold Cup horse.”

Ireland’s only equine representative, Mount Benbulben, was one of just five to complete the course.

The Gordon Elliott-trained finished fourth.


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