Pair primed for takeoff in pursuit of an eighth Concorde victory for Weld
Dermot Weld has sent out seven winners of the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home of Champions Concorde Stakes (2.40) since the race was moved to Tipperary in 1991 and ground conditions will suit his two runners in Sunday's race.
Speaking on Saturday, Weld said: "Imaging is a very consistent colt. He had a long break over the summer and I expect him to run a very nice race as he likes soft ground.
"Yulong Gold Fairy is a stakes-winning filly and she, too, is well suited by soft ground. She should go well."
The Weld pair and the Ger Lyons-trained Psychedelic Funk, winner of the 7½f contest a year ago who will be making his first appearance since landing a Group 3 event on testing ground at Naas in April, head the home team facing a three-strong British challenge.
Karl Burke, who has captured three Group races, including a couple of Group 1s, in Ireland in recent weeks, is represented by Ellthea, who won the Group 3 Park Stakes at Naas last season. She will be making only her third appearance of the year and will be joined by the Mick Channon-trained Dan's Dream and the William Jarvis-trained Chief Ironside.
Jarvis said: "We looked at this race and thought it fitted in okay, but it's pretty competitive. The horse is in good form and his form in England has been stacking up pretty well.
"I think he'll be in the mix. He hasn't raced on soft ground, but I was always keen to give him a run on it. Whether it's going to be too soft we'll find out, but I think getting his toe in will suit him."
A Group 3 winner at Newbury in April, Dan's Dream has shown she handles easy ground. She ran second in the Group 3 Fairy Bridge Stakes over today's course and trip in August before finishing last in the Group 1 Matron Stakes on fast going at Leopardstown last month.
Former stablemates do battle
Wicklow Brave and Arctic Fire, Grade 1 winners and also winners of the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, take each on for the third time in their long careers in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle (3.15), formerly the Istabraq Hurdle.
A pair of nine-year-olds owned by Wicklow Bloodstock Ltd, Wicklow Brave, the winner of 14 races, has done all his racing for Willie Mullins whereas seven-time winner Arctic Fire was transferred from Mullins to Denis Cullen's yard this year and has won over three miles at Cork in August on his second run back after a lengthy absence.
Cullen said yesterday: "Arctic Fire is fit and well. He worked well at the Curragh during the week."
The seven-runner line-up also includes Scottish raider Bedrock, Gordon Elliott's Tombstone, reverting to hurdles for the first time since April 2017, and the Joseph O'Brien-trained pair Ivanovich Gorbatov and Plinth, winner of the race three years ago.
Listowel form key to novice events
Le Richebourg, who won on his debut over fences at the Listowel festival last month, represents JP McManus in the Grade 3 Like A Butterfly Novice Chase (4.45), a 2m4f event named after McManus's Grade 1-winning hurdler and chaser.
Frank Berry, McManus's racing manager, said: "Le Richebourg did the job nicely at Listowel, where he jumped well. Joseph [O'Brien] is very happy with him."
Le Richebourg's rivals include the Willie Mullins-trained pair Camelia De Cotte, who is two from two over fences, and three-time chase winner Robin Des Foret.
Mullins runs two in the Grade 3 Joe Mac Novice Hurdle (3.45) in the shape of Listowel winner maiden winners Quick Grabim and Dorrells Pierji.
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