Sponsor opens betting on inaugural Coral Coral.ie Hurdle & Coral.ie Leopardstown Chase
The entries, weights and sponsor’s betting for the €100,000 Coral.ie Hurdle and the €100,000 Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Chase, which take place at Leopardstown on Sunday, January 17th, were announced during a visit to the Closutton stable of Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins today.
Mullins is responsible for nine of the 40 entries for the Coral.ie Hurdle. He has won the race on three occasions, most recently with 16/1 shot Abbey Lane in 2013. Chief among his hopes for this year’s renewal are top-weight Ivan Grozny – 16/1 with the sponsor – on 11st 10lbs and the Punchestown festival Grade 1 winner Petite Parisienne who is set to carry 11st 3lbs. Like Ivan Grozny, Buiseness Sivola was a Grade 3 winner at Fairyhouse last Easter and both he and his stable companion Kalkir are in on 11st.
Gordon Elliott has entered three horses as he bids to win the race for the first time. His Desoto County, a cosy winner at Thurles before Christmas, has been allotted 10st 5lbs, while Diamond King is set to carry 11st 1lb with Vercingetorix on 10st 1lb.
Tony Martin won the race with the Mick Fitzgerald-ridden Xenophon in 2003 and he is one of three trainers with four entries. Whatsforuwontgobyu was a good winner over the course and distance at the Christmas Festival and the JP McManus-owned six-year-old is set to carry 10st 6lbs while The Plan Man has 10st 11lbs, Gladiator King has 10st 7lbs and Okotoks is on 10st 4lbs.
Noel Meade saddled Glencloud to win at odds of 20/1 in 1993 and he too has entered four horses, including Coral’s current 8/1 favourite De Name Escapes Me, a winner at Down Royal and Fairyhouse late last year which is set to carry 10st 13lbs while Ice Cold Soul, a winner at Leopardstown during the Christmas festival, has been given 10st 2lbs. Also with four entries is Curragh trainer Alan Fleming, fresh from his double at Naas on Sunday, who can choose between Tully East (10st 11lbs), Vive La France (10st 10lbs), Investmentsuccess (9st 12lbs) and Bishopslough (9st 11lbs).
Modem was second to last year’s impressive winner Katie T and the Jessica Harrington-trained gelding will shoulder 11st this time around while the JP McManus-owned Champagne At Tara on 10st 5lbs could represent UK-trainer Jonjo O’Neill. Bentelimar, trained by Shay Barry, is second in the weights on 11st 6lbs.
Ted Walsh landed the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Chase with Foxrock twelve months ago and he has entered both Seabass (10st 1lbs) and Rossvoss (9st 11lbs), a wide margin winner over hurdles at Navan last time, in this year’s renewal of the €100,000 contest, for which Dressedtothenines, Fine Rightly and Ucello Conti are the 7/1 co-favourites with Coral. Arthur Moore has won the race on four previous occasions and the former champion trainer is another with two entries, Talbot Road on 9st 8lbs and Fever Pitch on 9st 5lbs.
The race has attracted 37 horses, ten more than last year, and Willie Mullins is responsible for five entries as he aims to win for the second time. Sir Des Champs is the highest rated of the quintet and would carry 11st 9lbs, while Blood Cotil has 11st 5lbs, Turban has 11st 2lbs, Ballycasey is on 11st 1lbs and Mozoltov would carry 11st.
The Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant, a gallant second behind Don Poli in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas festival, tops the weights on 11st 10lbs while the same trainer’s Rule The World, runner-up to No More Heroes in the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase, has been allotted 11st.
Simon Clare, Coral PR & Broadcast Director, said, “We are very proud and excited to be embarking on Coral’s inaugural sponsorship of these two historic races, and looking forward to our partnership with a racecourse of the stature and heritage of Leopardstown. To that end we have agreed with the racecourse to give the Handicap Chase back its historic race title, and be known once again as the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Chase. Over the next few years we are determined to work with Leopardstown to raise the profile and appeal of these great races, under the Coral.ie banner.”
Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “This is a first venture into horse racing sponsorship in Ireland for Coral and we are delighted that they have chosen to put their name to the entire card at Leopardstown on Sunday, 17th January. The two feature races have once again attracted competitive fields and the €100,000 bonus to any horse that can win the coral.ie Hurdle and go on to land the Coral Cup at Cheltenham certainly adds a new dimension. The increase in the number of entries for the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Chase is particularly encouraging.”
**Coral.ie Hurdle – sponsor’s betting
8 De Name Escapes Me, 10 Whatsforuwontgobyu, 12 Desoto County, Ice Cold Soul, Sir Scorpion, 14 Diamond King, Sizing Tennessee, Tully East, Vive La France, 16 After Rain, Bamako Moriviere, Champagne At Tara, Harvey Logan, Ivan Grozny, Kalkir, Modem, Princely Conn, Tigris River, Waxies Dargle, 20 Ancient Sands, Bentelimar, Buiseness Sivola, Childrens List, Colla Pier, Herminator, Okotoks, 25 Bar
**Coral.ie Leopardstown Chase – sponsor’s betting
7 Dressedtothenines, Fine Rightly, Ucello Conti, 8 Rule The World, 10 Blood Cotil, 12 Gallant Oscar, Guitar Pete, Heathfield, Killer Crow, Living Next Door, Noble Emperor, Rossvoss, Seabass, 14 Ballycasey, Empire Of Dirt, Folsom Blue, Jacksonslady, Lord Scoundrel, Mozoltov, Talbot Road, 16 Buckers Bridge, Clar Na Mionn, Daring Article Fever Pitch, First Lieutenant, Los Amigos, Turban, 20 Bar