A CRACKING NATIONAL HUNT SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE

Leopardstown’s national hunt season came to a close today with the Mercury Engineering National Hunt Finale. Leopardstown has had a hugely successful season with over 88,000 attendees at the eight meetings, an increase of 7% on last year. As part of the raceday, The Irish Hospice Foundation returned for the second year with a fundraiser in the Pavilion with over 600 attendees supporting the Irish Hospice Foundation which included The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, Mary Harney, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Tracey Piggot.  The British Ambassador, his excellency Dominick Chilcott was also in attendance with his wife.She’s Got Grit lived up to her name as She took the Grade B Mercury Engineering Handicap Chase at Leopardstown today, her fifth win over fences, winning for trainer Terence O’Brien and jockey Adrian Heskin. Champions Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh teamed up to win the Ballsbridge Hurdle at Leopardstown today with Felix Yonger.  The 4/5 favourite stayed in strongly to easily see off 50-1 rank outsider Cardinal Palace by two and a quarter lengths. Jockey Luke Dempsey steered Do Be Doin’ to win the O’Callaghan Hotels Handicap Chase for trainer Martin Hassett.

The CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Sharon Foley, said, “The Irish Hospice Foundation works tirelessly every day to ensure that people who are approaching end of life receive the best care and support possible. Funds raised at Mercury Engineering Race Day will go a long way to support our vital programmes, including our Nurses for Night Care service which helps people die at home in comfort and with dignity. Due to increased demand the cost of this service is expected to rise to over €600,000 in 2015 so fundraising events like this are absolutely crucial. My sincere thanks go to all who have supported the event this year.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown commented: “The high calibre of racing at Leopardstown during this national hunt season has spoken for itself –We’re delighted to finish the season on such a high note.