Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Down Royal Festival fever heats up

Equestrian beauty Jayne Higgins is aiming for Best Dressed prize at next month's Down Royal Festival
Equestrian beauty Jayne Higgins is aiming for Best Dressed prize at next month's Down Royal Festival

Down Royal has received a boost ahead of next month’s big two-day Northern Ireland Festival with Ulster Derby winner Alhellal confirmed for the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.

Festival fever hots upHats off: Equestrian beauty Jayne Higgins is aiming for Best Dressed prize at next month’s Down Royal FestivalDOWN Royal has received a boost ahead of next month’s big two-day Northern Ireland Festival with Ulster Derby winner Alhellal confirmed for the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.

Alhellal, winner of the Magners-sponsored showpiece at June’s Summer Festival, has been fine-tuned for the £160,000 showdown by trainer Maurice Phelan.

“Ideally we'd like good ground for him, but he handles soft and it was testing when he won the Ulster Derby,” said Phelan.

Alhellal is just the latest in a long line of Down Royal winners that have gone on to challenge for top honours all over the world, including Media Puzzle who won the same Down Royal race before triumphing in the 2002 Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Down Royal’s 2012 Festival of Racing, on Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, is already shaping up to be one of the highlights of Ulster’s sporting year.

The Festival feature, the |JNwine.com Champion Chase, was won last year by Quito De La Roque, while the great Kauto Star boasts two victories in the big race, in 2008 and 2010.

Over the last 13 years the Festival has helped revolutionise racing both on and off the track in Northern Ireland.

The JNwine.com Ladies Day, on November 3, has a prize worth £5000, courtesy of House of Fraser, for the Best Dressed Lady.

The competition is open to all ladies attending Down Royal on the Festival’s second day.

No Jet Lag is likely to miss the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday in favour of a trip to Dundalk a day earlier.

David Lanigan's juvenile impressed at Lingfield and Redcar before finding Ashdan too strong in a conditions race at Doncaster's St Leger meeting.

Lanigan is favouring a trip to Dundalk for No Jet Lag for a Listed prize on Friday evening.

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