Coral.IE Hurdle – Race Preview
Sunday sees the annual running of the Coral.IE Hurdle at Leopardstown in Ireland. The race is a hurdles contest run over a distance of two miles with a total of eight hurdles jumped. Known under various names since its inception in 1969, the race is one of the most competitive races of the weekend with the top Irish stables all set to have runners.
The current ante-post favourite is the Willie Mullins trained Kalkir. Despite not being seen since pulled up in the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, bookmakers feel that the five-year old has the ability to overcome a 10 month absence and run a big race. However, Sunday’s race will be Kalkir’s first run in a handicap against more experienced horses and with only one win to date so far over obstacles, the sensible option may be to oppose him.
The current ante-post second favourite is After Rain, set to be ridden by Barry Geraghty for owner JP McManus. Active over the summer, After Rain enjoyed victory in a novice hurdle at Wexford in October before placing third in a competitive handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse at the end of November. A performance similar to that Fairyhouse run should see After Rain go close on Sunday.
Trainer Gordon Elliott is set to be represented by Desoto County. Lightly campaigned last season, Desoto County made a winning return to action when claiming a two mile handicap hurdle at Thurles before Christmas. Winning with plenty in hand, a 10lb rise in the weights may not be enough to keep seven-year old out of the places on Sunday.
Veteran trainer Noel Meade looks set to be represented by De Name Escapes Me and Waxies Dargle as he looks to win the race for the first time since 1993. De Name Escapes Me comes into the race on the back of two comfortable victories in novice events at Down Royal and Fairyhouse. Handed a mark of 134, Sunday’s race will be De Name Escapes Me first run in a large field handicap and if he settles well, he could run a big race. Waxies Dargle comes into the race on the back of a third place in the Grade 3 Greatwood Hurlde at Cheltenham in November before being pulled up in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot in mid-December. Dropping down to a mark of 138 for Sunday, the same mark as he ran off in the Greatwood Hurdle, Waxies Dargle could take all the beating.
After Rain is the current 10 (9/1) ante-post favourite for Sunday’s race with After Rain available at 11 (10/1) and Desoto County 12 (11/1). De Name Escapes Me is 15 (14/1) and Waxies Dargle is 26 (25/1). The horse racing tip for Sunday’s Coral.IE Hurdle is Waxies Dargle each-way at 26 (25/1).
By: Scott McGlynn