Wexford hope for fair weather
Officials at Wexford are praying for good weather when they stage a Listed race for the first time for a number of years on Sunday.
The M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase, named after the late chairman of the course, is the centrepiece of a seven-race card and has attracted a classy entry of 17.
Ireland's champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has five possibles - Laganbank, Rattan, Sin Palo, Sweet My Lord and Toostrong -
in the two and three-quarter mile contest worth E16,900 to the winner.
Other leading handlers represented include Gordon Elliott with Toner D'Oudairies, who was a Grade Three winner at Punchestown last week for owner Gigginstown House Stud.
Among the other entries are Munster National hero Martin Brassil's Double Seven, owned by J P McManus, the Tony Martin-trained Dedigout and Tofino Bay from the Dessie Hughes stable.
"We did have a Listed race many years ago but it is certainly the first for a very long time," said Michael Murphy, who is in his fifth year as racecourse chairman.
"Mr Hickey was chairman before me. Since he passed away we had two races in his name, but we thought it would be appropriate if we put this particular race in his name. He was a great man.
"The entries are very good with some good horses. If the weather is good I'd expect we'd get 3,000 people, but if it's a bad day less than half of that.
"It qualified automatically to be a Listed race because of the quality of the horses in it last year when it was a handicap. There is good quality racing all through the card, but it is weather dependent like most outdoor sports. We're just keeping our fingers crossed.
"Most of our top trainers are represented - Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Dessie Hughes and Tony Martin. We are looking forward to it."