Kemboy and Road To Respect are among 13 horses still in contention for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy ran out an impressive winner of the Savills Chase over the course and distance in December, dominating from the front under an inspired ride from David Mullins.

The champion trainer initially indicated he could send Kemboy straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, but he retains the option of returning to Foxrock for the Dublin Racing Festival.

Mullins also has Savills Chase fourth Bellshill, Al Boum Photo and Total Recall in the mix for a race he has won on a record nine occasions.

Noel Meade's Road To Respect was a hot favourite to successfully defend his crown in the Savills Chase, but had to make do with minor honours in third after stumbling twice at a crucial stage.

He is likely to spearhead a strong team for Gigginstown House Stud on Sunday, with Gordon Elliott's pair Alpha Des Obeaux and Outlander and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Balko Des Flos all left in.

De Bromhead could also call upon Savills Chase runner-up Monalee, while Noble Endeavor and The Storyteller complete a quartet of Elliott inmates.

The JP McManus-owned pair of last year's winner Edwulf (Joseph O'Brien) and Anibale Fly (Tony Martin) complete the potential line-up. 

Apples' Jade

Apple’s Jade heads the six acceptors for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday.

Gordon Elliott’s star mare, the winner of the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle over three miles at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is on-course for an intriguing clash with the Willie Mullins-trained Melon and Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae, winner of the race last year.

The first of eight Grade 1 races at the Festival is the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle.

Battleoverdoyen heads the 25 entries and Gordon Elliott’s exciting six-year-old could face rivals of the calibre of the Philip Dempsey-trained Derrinross, Pat Fahy’s Dunvegan and the Willie Mullins-trained Relegate and Salsaretta.


Mullins holds the strongest hand in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase with early favourites Footpad and Min going forward for the newly promoted Grade 1 event. Course specialist Simply Ned will take his chance for Nicky Richards and the cross-channel challenge would be greatly strengthened if the Harry Whittington-trained Saint Calvados was to line up.

The Aidan Howard-trained Winter Escape is among those remaining in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase where the Terence O’Brien-trained Articulum, Henry De Bromhead’s Paloma Blue and the Gary Moore-trained Knocknanuss look worthy opposition. Le Richebourg will certainly have his chance for Joseph O'Brien while Voix Du Reve could yet represent Willie Mullins.

Winter Escape also has the option of taking on the Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi and Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work in the Flogas Novice Chase on Sunday.

The first of the Grade 1 races on the second day is the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle where Sir Erec and Tiger Tap Tap could renew rivalry for trainers Joseph O'Brien and Willie Mullins. Gordon Elliott’s acceptors include Chief Justice and Surin.Mullins,

Elliott and Henry De Bromhead dominate the entries for the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle. Course and distance Grade 1 winner Aramon and Klassical Dream are among the strong team the champion trainer has to choose from while Elliott has both Vision D’honneur and a Grade 2 winner Felix Desjy.

Among those De Bromhead has left in are Dancing On My Own and Sinoria, while another of interest would be the Joseph O’Brien-trained Triplicate.

Watch live coverage of the Dublin Racing Festival on RTÉ 2 and the RTE Player from 12.40pm on Saturday, 2 February and from 1pm on Sunday, 3 February. Listen to live updates on Saturday Sport and Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1.