Leopardstown Racecourse will host this year’s Lexus Chase on Friday, 28th December in what promises to be one of the sporting and social highlights of the Christmas Festival.
The Grade 1 feature race looks set to be dominated by two of the most talked about horses this year, Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar, who are both holding entries.
Sir Des Champs was installed as favourite for the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup within a couple of days of his victory in the Jewson Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March, and he consolidated that position with a fine display to land the Growise Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival in April.
Flemenstar has also been busy making headlines. Winner of his last five chases last term, his final victory of the season coming in the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, Peter Casey’s gelding kicked off this season by beating the evergreen Big Zeb in the Fortria Chase at Navan. He still has to prove that he can stay three miles but, if he can, he will be a serious player in the top staying chases this season.
The Lexus Chase is considered by many racing experts to be a form marker for the blue riband of National Hunt, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. During Lexus’ time as sponsor the Lexus Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup double has been completed twice by Denman in the 2007/08 season and last year’s winner Synchronised who completed the double in Cheltenham last March. One of Ireland’s most loved horses, Beef or Salmon, holds the record for victories in the race having won three times (2002, 2004, 2005).
Mark Teevan, Managing Director, Lexus Ireland said: “We’re delighted to be once again supporting this great race day at Leopardstown in our ninth year as title sponsors. Over the years this Grade 1 Chase has produced a host of stirring encounters and has gained a wonderful reputation with both avid followers and the occasional race track visitor. Last year was no different with a stunning win from Synchronised who went on to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory before his tragic passing in April.
It looks as though there will be a host of exciting new challengers for the 2012 title and we’re looking forward to a fantastic day’s racing.”
Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown said: “The Leopardstown Christmas Festival is one of the major events of the National Hunt season and as part of that the Lexus Chase always produces exciting and enduring sporting moments. We are very fortunate in Ireland at the moment to have a wonderful group of horses and are delighted that so many of these horses appear to be planning to line up at Leopardstown this Christmas. We’re hopeful that Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar will go head to head in the Lexus Chase which would excite and delight the many thousands of people enjoying the occasion at Leopardstown or tuning in at home.”
Friday 28th December
Lexus Chase Preview.