DOWN Royal’s Boxing Day fixture on Sunday has attracted a bumper 173 entries, however, the bulk of horses relate to the maiden hurdle, handicap hurdle and bumper. The Adare Manor Opportunity Rider Handicap Hurdle has 42 entries. Trainer, Gordon Elliott has seven entered in the opening race of the 48 presently engaged. The concluding bumper has 30 engaged, with Larne trainer, Stuart Crawford responsible for a quartet of the current total.
The Boxing Day Hunterchase at the Lisburn track always holds special interest, having in the past highlighted future winners of the Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters and Fermanagh trainer, David Christie has a trio entered, including the very talented ‘Winged Leader’ and the exciting youngster, ‘Vaucelet’, which won the Champion Novice Hunterchase at Stratford in the spring and is currently unbeaten in his last four starts – including the Fairyhouse hunterchase last month. The 3,5000 attendance quota for the local meeting has long since sold out.
The ‘sold out’ sign is also up at Leopardstown for the four-day Christmas Festival meeting, but following increased restrictions announced by the Irish government last Friday to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, numbers are restricted to 5,000 racegoers per day despite earlier hopes of a larger attendance permitted. The four-day meeting (Sunday, December 26 to Wednesday, December 29) boasts seven Grade 1 races in total, including the Savills Chase (28th) and the Matheson Hurdle (29th).
Leopardstown Racecourse issued a statement on Monday clarifying their position on refunds stating: “We have examined all our ticket allocations since the announcement on Friday and have had a number of cancellations from customers, who will be fully refunded. We have also been working over the weekend with our commercial partners and stakeholders and, with their generous co-operation, have regained enough capacity to allow us facilitate all those who purchased on public sale their tickets for the Leopardstown Christmas festival. As a result, we are delighted that everyone who currently has a ticket for the Leopardstown Christmas Festival will be able to attend according to the details of their ticket. Unfortunately, there will be no additional tickets available to purchase for any day and admission without a ticket on the day of racing cannot be accommodated.”