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March 15, 2011

Irish Flat season kicks into gear at the Curragh - Sun Mar 20th

THE 2011 Irish Flat season kicks into action at the Curragh next Sunday, 20th March when the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes and the Irish Lincolnshire are the twin features on a seven race programme which gets under way at 2.35 pm.

Last season’s leading Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is double-handed in the Group 3 contest with Juliet Capulet and Gemstone. The latter scored twice from six attempts as a juvenile, including on her final outing at this venue in October when she stayed on strongly to defeat Rising Wind comfortably in a Listed race over this trip. She is clearly a useful sort and looks the pick of the two Ballydoyle-trained fillies.

Jim Bolger is also well represented with Banimpire, Burn The Floor and Stylish One to choose from, while local trainer Dermot Weld has entered both Emulous and Enchanted Evening. Lolly For Dolly is another one worth a mention as the Tommy Stack-trained filly landed her first two races last season, including a seven furlong Group 3 contest at the venue in early May.

There are 20 entries for the Irish Lincolnshire, including six from Britain in Blue Moon, Kylachy Star, Our Joe Mac, Pintura, Stead and The Fifth Member. Toraidhe, which finished a very creditable third behind Big Robert in this contest 12 months ago, bids to go a couple of places better for the Jim Bolger yard. Gimli’s Rock, Hawkhill, Photo Opportunity and Rory Anna are others sure to be prominent in the market.

The Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden opens proceedings on Sunday and most of the big stables are represented in the first juvenile contest of the season. Aidan O’Brien  has entered Ahimsa, while Jim Bolger can choose between Lonrach, Snowflake Dancer, Taoiane and Whip Rule. Pinkisthecolour and The Firm are Kevin Prendergast’s two entries, while the Richard Fahey-trained Lost City makes the journey over from Britain.

Admission prices for Sunday are 15 euro for adults and 8 euro for senior citizens and under 25’s, while children under 16 have free entry. Meanwhile, the ground at the Curragh is currently Soft.