Today’s racing

The first day of the Dublin Racing Festival gets underway at Leopardstown today with the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle (2m) taking top billing.

It’s an exciting match-up between the unbeaten mare Honeysuckle, trained by Henry de Bromhead, and the Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah, who won over course and distance in December’s Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle.

There are three other Grade 1s staged at Leopardstown today including the Arkle Novice Vhase (2m1f) where Cash Back, by Yorton Stud Farm’s new recruit Linda’s Lad, will bid to claim a first top-level event.

Over at Sandown, the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (2m4f) has attracted the participation of Mullins’ Laurina, who is bidding to bounce back from being pulled up at Leopardstown last month.

Musselburgh and Wetherby also race over jumps today while there are all-weather meetings from Lingfield and Kempton.

Envoi Allen heading straight to Cheltenham

Cheveley Park Stud’s youngster Envoi Allen will bypass this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival and will head straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Gordon Elliott confirmed the decision on Friday and indicated that the Ballymore Novice’s Hurdle in March is the gelding’s next destination.

Speaking to the Racing Post, Elliott said: “We haven’t declared Envoi Allen for Leopardstown. He’s had three runs over hurdles and has plenty of experience. He’ll go for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.”

Marsha delivers Galileo filly

Coolmore announced on Friday that Group 1-winning sprinter Marsha had delivered a filly foal by the operation’s perennial champion sire Galileo.

She joined the Coolmore broodmare band after MV Magnier went to a European record of 6,000,000gns to secure her at the Tattersalls December Sale in 2017 having been offered by owner-breeders the Elite Racing Club.