McManus and Gigginstown dominate feature chase line-up
Gigginstown House Stud and J P McManus dominate the declarations for Sunday's Stan James Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, accounting for six of the eight-runner field.
Barry Geraghty will partner Carlingford Lough, one of McManus's three contenders, who will be bidding to win the Grade 1 event for the third consecutive year. McManus will also be represented by the Jonjo O'Neill-trained pair Minella Rocco (Aidan Coleman) and More Of That, who will be ridden by Mark Walsh, successful on Carlingford Lough a year ago.
Three-time Grade 1 winner Don Poli, who is a general 3-1 favourite for the race, his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Empire Of Dirt and the Noel Meade-trained Road To Riches, runner-up in the event 12 months ago, will be attempting to give Gigginstown a third win in the race, which they won with Sir Des Champs in 2013 and Last Instalment in 2014.
Completing the line-up will be the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John, who will be tackling three miles for the first time, and the Andy Lynch-trained Zabana.
Bellshill, favourite for the RSA Chase, will face five rivals in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase while his trainer Willie Mullins trains six of the ten declared for the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle, with Saturnas, already a Grade 1 winner and the mount of Ruby Walsh, leading his team.
The ground at Leopardstown on Friday was yielding to soft on the chase course and soft on the hurdle and bumper track.