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Excitement building at Leopardstown ahead of Dublin Racing Festival

Fri 26 Jan 2018

Officials at Leopardstown are counting down the days to the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival next weekend.

The Foxrock venue will play host to a top-class two-day fixture featuring seven Grade Ones, including the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on the Saturday and the Unibet Gold Cup on Sunday.

With the likes of Samcro, Footpad and Faugheen all set to feature, it is no surprise Leopardstown's chief executive Pat Keogh is expecting huge crowds to flock to the track on both days.

He said: "Pre-bookings are going very well and we're all really excited about the weekend.

"We're still a week away, but at the moment it looks as though all the top horses in Ireland will be turning up and we should have two days of fantastic racing.

"We've had a great response from trainers. I think they're all delighted the fixture is equidistant between Christmas and the Cheltenham Festival. That was obviously an important factor when we were considering the timing of the meeting.

"We've had a lot of interest from English people, as well as Irish, which is fantastic. In all sports, people love the big festivals and you can spend two or three days in Dublin and enjoy two days of top-class racing as well.

"There's plenty going on off the track as well. We've live music and food and all sorts of things for people to enjoy."

While conditions promise to be testing for this weekend's fixtures at Fairyhouse and Naas, Keogh is hopeful an improvement in the weather will provide "perfect jumping ground" at Leopardstown.

"At the moment the ground is soft and a little bit better than that in some places," Keogh added.

"Obviously we're still a week away and a lot can change, but at this stage it looks like we might get a bit of rain over the weekend and into Monday and then it's looking fairly dry until Friday.

"The weekend itself is looking pretty good weather-wise at the moment, so everything looks great and hopefully we might get perfect jumping ground."

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