Mica Malpic (left) winning at Limerick last year© Photo Healy Racing
Enda Bolger is aiming Mica Malpic at the €45,000 Campion Insurance Tim Duggan Handicap Chase on day three of the Mr Binman Limerick Christmas Festival meeting which runs from December 26 to 29.
The JP McManus-owned gelding won at the Listowel Festival last year and gained his third success over fences this August at Kilbeggan.
“I’m looking forward to running Mica Malpic in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase,” said Bolger at the launch of the Mr Binman Limerick Christmas Festival in his Howardstown House yard.
“He won nicely at Kilbeggan during the summer over the distance, and he won at Limerick last year, so we know that he can go at the track.”
The €100,000 Grade 1 Guinness Faugheen Novice Chase is the highlight of the four-day Festival on December 28, a race Bolger won with Gilgamboa back in 2014.
“The race was a Grade 2 contest then, it’s a Grade 1 race now but it was still a big race, a really important race, and any day that you have a winner at Limerick at Christmas is a good day,” Bolger reflected.
“Gilgamboa was a really talented horse, he was a great horse for us. He had won a big handicap hurdle at Leopardstown the previous January and he won the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse the following April. He’s currently enjoying retirement at Martinstown, he’s Istabraq’s buddy!
“It’s great that the race is a Grade 1 race now, it was a massive boost for the racecourse when it was awarded Grade 1 status in 2018 and there have been some top-class winners of the race like Sir Des Champs, Outlander, Bellshill, Colreevy, as well as Imperial Call and Gilgamboa.”
The Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Land Rover Novice Hurdle is the highlight on St Stephen’s Day (Dec 26) while there is another Grade 2 feature the following day with the McMahon Builders Providers Irish EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase.
The highlight on the final day of the Festival is the €45,000 Sporting Limerick Handicap Hurdle.
“There is a depth to the meeting now too. Four days, and something for everybody,” Bolger continued. “There is a race for every horse, from a 0-95 handicap to a Grade 1 race, from three-year-old hurdles to hunters’ chases. Every horse is catered for.
“It’s a really good track now too. It took a little while to settle in, but it has matured nicely. You get soft ground during the winter, which is what you want for National Hunt horses, and they have lots of ground. They have the inside track as well which they can use, they can protect the ground.
“A lot of people say that it’s an easy track, but you get to the top of the hill and you go for home, it’s a long way from there to the winning line. And there is a lot of jumping down the back straight. The best horse in the race usually wins, and good horses win there. I went past the track the other day, and it looks great.
“There’s a great buzz around for the Christmas Festival and local trainers can do very well there. Eric McNamara usually targets his horses at the meeting and Eoin McCarthy had three winners there last year.
“I wish Limerick Racecourse all the best for the Mr Binman Christmas Festival this year. I’m sure that it will be another great week.”