Irish Racing Preview: Birdcatcher Day & more

Action in Naas on Sunday includes the €120K Foras Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final

David Hollywood looks forward to this week’s Irish racing highlights

Here’s a quick run-through of this week’s racing in Ireland – 


Punchestown stages seven races, four over hurdles, two over fences and a Mares’ Flat Race at 5:15pm to close proceedings. The feature of the day is the €20,000 Rated Hurdle at 2.35pm. The meeting starts at 2:05pm

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The second day at Punchestown this week is headlined by two Grade Three races. The €32,500 Buck House Novice Chase is due off 3.40pm, with the feature race of the day, the three mile, one furlong €40,000 Irish Daily Star Chase set to start at 4.10pm.

The seven-race card begins with a maiden hurdle at 2.05pm and closes with the Punchestown Winter Festival Flat Race at 5.20pm.


Irish racing on Thursday comes in the form of a jumps card from Tramore. A maiden hurdle at 1.35pm opens the programme, with a Rated Novice Chase at 3.40pm and a Beginners Chase at 4.10pm being the two most-valuable contests.

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The autumn/winter racing season at Dundalk is in full flow and Friday’s feature is the €63,500 Group Three Al Basti Equiworld Mercury Stakes (8pm). It’s now four straight weeks that the AW track has hosted either a Listed or Group race on its card.


On Saturday, Leopardstown (first race 1:35pm) will stage a card that carries over €200,000 in prize-money. The key races are the €60,000 Group Three Kilavullan Stakes, the €47,500 Trigo Stakes (a Listed Race) and the €25,000 Tote Handicap.


Flat racing at Naas takes centre stage in Ireland on ‘Birdcatcher’ day.

Feature races include the 3.45pm Rathasker Clodovil Irish EBF Garnet Stakes worth €57,500, the €50,000 EBF Birdcatcher Premier Nursery Handicap at 2.35pm and the €57,500 Listed Rathasker Bungle Inthejungle EBF Bluebell Stakes at 5.20pm.

The card’s most-valuable race, though, is the seven-furlong, €120,000 Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final at 3.10pm.

Entries include the six winners from the qualifying legs of the series. Ger Lyons brings Kestral Prince and Burmese Waltz along with another six. Jessica Harrington has five entries including recent winner at Gowran Park, Dragon Roll, while Sheila Lavery, who won this race in its previous guise in 2015, has four entries.

Along with Naas, they will also race in Ireland on Sunday at Cork (first race 1:50pm), where the feature race is the €50,000 Handicap ‘Chase, a Grade B contest run over a distance of two miles and one furlong.


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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article