Irish Racing Weekend Preview

Venue: WEXFORD Date: 30 August 2014 First race: 2.35pm (Seven Races – Flat) Going: Good “Wexford stages their final Flat fixture of 2014 on Saturday afternoon and a competitive seven-race card is sure to see racegoers arrive in their droves” David Wachman has his stable in typically good form and will be hoping that his An Fear Ciuin makes his presence felt in the Children’s Day At Bettyville Handicap at 3.45pm. Having won his previous two starts An Fear Ciuin will be attempting to win his third race in a row in the hands of Fran Berry. One horse that lit up the Galway festival last month was the Tony Martin-trained Greatness who reeled in his opponents late on before recording a narrow victory. Martin will be hoping that his gallant grey will come out on top again in the Boolavogue Handicap at 4.55pm. Fran Berry takes the ride. Just four horses will line up for the Shelmalier (Q.R.) Race at 5.45pm where the Peter Fahy-trained Alton Bay will attempt to record his fourth victory on the bounce. Totally Dominant has always been held in high regard in Willie Mullins’ stable and will pose a huge threat off bottom weight. The champion trainer’s nephew David Mullins claims a further seven pounds off his back that could swing the balance in favour of Totally Dominant. For the previous two seasons Willie Mullins has sent out Annie Power and Pink Hat to win the concluding Enniscorthy Mares Flat Race. Annie Power has subsequently proved herself as a top-class mare and Pink Hat has won her fair share of races. The Closutton stable will be hoping to record their third successive victory in the race with Punchestown festival winner Morning Run and Patrick Mullins will take the ride. The first race at Wexford is off at 2.35pm. Venue: CORK Date: 31 AUGUST 2014 First race: 2.20pm (Seven Races – Jumps) Going: Good, Good to Firm in places “The feature €22,000 JP McManus Rated Hurdle will see a classy field of seven horses go to post in which recent Killarney scorer The Game Changer will be well supported” Trainer Charlie Swan would have been delighted to see The Game Changer finally get his deserved day in the sun by winning a big handicap hurdle at Killarney last week and has wasted no time in turning him out again in the feature JP McManus Rated Hurdle on Sunday at Cork. The five-year-old had already placed in this summer’s Galway Hurdle and is the class act on show. Johnny Burke has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with The Game Changer and retains the ride. There are few horses as versatile as the Henry De Bromhead-trained Darwins Fox and he should not be discounted lightly. He is sure to be involved in the finish under Andrew Lynch. Flaxen Flare burst onto the jumping scene back in 2013 when capturing the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival. Since that victory Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old has run some massive races and actually won this Online Ticket Sales At Hurdle race last year at odds of 1-9. He looks to be the main contender to take the €13,000 prize again under Davy Condon. The action at Cork is off at 2.20pm. Venue: CURRAGH Date: 31 AUGUST 2014 First race: 2.05pm (Seven Races – Flat) Going: Good to Yielding “Racegoers are in for a real treat at the Curragh on Sunday with two Group 3s and the ultra-competitive €100,000 Irish Stallion Farms Irish Cambridgeshire taking place” Dermot Weld will be aiming for Group 3 Dance Design Stakes success at the Curragh on Sunday and will be represented by both Carla Bianca and Afternoon Sunlight. Pat Smullen will have had the choice as to who he would like to ride and the fact that he is staying loyal to recent winner Carla Bianca may be a tip in itself. Leigh Roche will partner Afternoon Sunlight.The race is named in honour of Dance Design, who Weld trained to win three Group One races including the Darley Irish Oaks. The Ger Lyons-trained Cappella Sansevero will hope to get back to winning ways in the other Group 3 on the card, the Nestle Supporting Irish Autism Action Round Tower Stakes. Recently appointed Qatar Racing number one jockey Andrea Atzeni takes the ride. The Aidan O’Brien-trained War Envoy will be similarly hope to get his season back on track under Joseph O’Brien in the Group 3 contest. 21 runners will line up in the ultra competitive €100,000 Irish Stallion Farms Irish Cambridgeshire and Dermot Weld could well hold the key to this handicap with Defining Year. The Rosewell House inmate did not enjoy the greatest luck in running at Galway on his latest start and Pat Smullen will be hoping for an easier passage here. The first race at the Curragh on Sunday goes to post at 2.05pm.