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Weld duo head entries for Irish St Leger

Dermot Weld's Rite Of Passage and Profound Beauty, both Melbourne Cup possibilities, topped the five-day entries for Saturday's final Classic of the season at the Curragh.

A total of 17 remain in the running for the Irish Field St Leger and recent listed winner Rajik was the sole supplementary entry at a cost of €24,000 to his local Kildare owners.

Rite Of Passage struck to prominence earlier in the season when he claimed the Group One Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal meeting, although Weld will be keeping a close eye on the weather before he firms up his running plans.

Pathfork and Janood supplemented for National Stakes

Jessica Harrington was on the mark with yet another two-year-old winner last night at Roscommon, and on Saturday her exciting unbeaten colt Pathfork will bid to give her an illustrious first Group One success after being supplemented for the Boylesports.com Vincent O'Brien National Stakes.

Joining Pathfork as a late entry is the sole British raider Janood who is also unbeaten for the powerful Godolphin outfit.

Of the 13 that remain in the race at the five-day forfeit stage, Ballydoyle are responsible for seven and, as has been seen in recent weeks, all their runners have to be respected although the first string would appear to be Phoenix Stakes winner Zoffany.

Remember Arazan?

Arazan, the colt who in the spring of 2009 was touted as John Oxx's real live 2000 Guineas contender, could emerge from the wilderness at the Curragh in Sunday's Solonaway Stakes.

Now a four-year-old, the colt went unraced in his Classic year last season after a number of niggly setbacks but is back in full work now and, providing he shows enough at home this week, is set to make an eagerly awaited comeback at HQ this weekend.

"A couple of doses of pneumonia" were his main problem, according to Oxx, who of course claimed last year's 2000 Guineas and much more with Sea The Stars.

"It's two years since he's run and it's very difficult for a horse to come back and retain all of his old ability when he's had a couple of doses of pneumonia," said Oxx.

"It would be a lot to expect him to come back to his old form and we'll have to decide whether he is in a position to go and run. He's surprised me that he's got this far actually but whether he can show his true ability, there is a bit of a question mark there."

Fixture List announced at long last

Usually announced at the Galway Festival, the eagerly awaited fixture list for 2011 landed on our desks yesterday with Horse Racing Ireland announcing that the total number of Irish racing fixtures next year will drop to 335 from 345 this year.

While the total number of fixtures decreased by 10, the number of calendar days on which racing will be held will increase by three, meaning racing is scheduled to take place on 267 days of 2011 in comparison to 264 this year.

The increase in days reduces the number of mixed meetings and therefore cuts cost for HRI who revealed that the Flat season will begin on March 20 at the Curragh and end at Dundalk on December 16, while the National Hunt season will now end on May 7 with the final day of the Punchestown Festival which was announced last week.

Raceourses to lose fixtures were Cork, the Curragh, Dundalk (lost two), Fairyhouse, Limerick, Listowel, Punchestown, Sligo and Tipperary.

Brian Kavanagh of HRI said: "HRI has adopted a prudent course of action in agreeing the 2011 fixture list, faced with a 13 per cent drop in the number of horses in training and the need to maintain the vitality of the racecourse sector. Irish racecourses have fought successfully to attract and hold race-goers in a declining leisure market and, so far this year, have kept attendance levels ahead of the same period last year."

Life's a beach ...

All roads lead to the beach today -- even despite the weather -- as Laytown hosts its annual meeting on the beach this afternoon.

The first of six races starts at 5pm and two previous course and distance winners are worth keeping an eye on.

In the first race James Lambe's Richelieu will race off 12lbs lower than when winning here a year ago and may well be back in a position to return to winning ways, while Niall Madden's in-form string can see The Hamptons follow up his win at the meeting 12 months ago.

Dozen left in English St Leger

Aidan O'Brien is responsible for four of the 12 horses that remain in the English St Leger which also takes place on Saturday, giving Ballydoyle a headache regarding jockey bookings.

Midas Touch, Joshua Tree, Flying Cross and Bright Horizon are all still possible Ballydoyle representatives for what is also the final Classic of the British season.


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