Down Royal Race Meeting Preview

Down Royal racecourse: preview and tips for Friday’s seven-race evening card

The Summer Flat season at Down Royal continues on Friday (31st May)) with the BoyleSports-sponsored seven-race evening card at the track. 

Racing gets underway at 5.30 in the evening with a 12 runner handicap for three-year-old’s before rounding off three hours later at 8.30 with another three-year-old contest for maiden runners. 

The opening race on the card (5.30) is over the short five furlong sprint distance and Dark Enigma renews rivalries with Land Lover 16 days on from the latter beating the former at Sligo.

However, with the Eoghan O’Neill-trained Dark Enigma now 4lb better off in the weights, he is taken to reverse the form and get off the mark in the first race of the evening at Down Royal.

Race two (6.00) is a fillies maiden event over the seven furlong trip, with 12 runners heading to the stalls. Betula, trained by Jessica Harrington, looks to be the one to beat, arriving off a fifth of 16 finish at the Curragh last time out for a yard that is very much in-form right now.

Top jockey Frankie Detorri pictured at Down Royal in 2023. (Photo by Jim Masson / Down News ©).

Of the rest, Kaliasa can put up a good fight for trainer Johnny Murtagh, second of seven last time out at Limerick for another yard that is in a good place right now.

A large field of 17 will take to the track for the third race on the Down Royal Card at 6.30 in the 47-75 rated handicap over seven furlongs.

Shoot To Kill is very much in the frame here for trainer Ado McGuinness and is taken to get one over on stablemate Distillate, a recent winner at Cork. Universally also enters equations with cheekpieces reapplied after a below-par seventh of 17 at the Curragh last time out having shown decent form prior to that.

The 47-65 rated handicap over seven furlongs marks the midway point of Friday’s card (7.00) and of the 12 runners set to take part, preference is given to the Murtagh-trained Pandion Power, a strong second of 12 in a Gowran Park handicap 23 days ago who can go one better at Down Royal.

Poppadom is also worth watching off the back of a runner-up finish at Limerick on his last spin two weeks ago. 

The Listed His Majesty’s Plate, race five of the evening, is the feature race on Down Royal’s card at 7.30 with eight runners tackling the two-mile trip and a prize of €24,000 up for grabs to the winner.

Party Central is unbeaten in two starts in this company for powerhouse trainer Gordon Elliott and is taken to make it a hat-trick of wins here.

Falcon Eight for trainer Dermot Weld should also be very much on the scene, a decent seventh at Chester’s meeting earlier this month and with the trainer’s yard in decent nick, the nine-year-old could be a major player. 

The Noel Meade-trained Nucky Johnson looks the one to beat in the penultimate race of Friday’s meeting (8.00) as nine runners take on the 1m2f maiden contest.

Samui is an interesting Flat debutant for Gordon Elliott, having proved very handy over the obstacles before making the switch here. 

Finally, the card comes to a close with another 1m2f maiden (8.30) and preference in the finale goes to the well-bred filly Step To Somewhere, fifth of 12 in a Dundalk maiden last time out who showed plenty of scope for improvement with that debut run under her belt. 

Down Royal selections – Friday (via Royal Ascot odds)

5.30 – Enigma

6.00 – Betula

6.30 – Shoot To Kill

7.00 – Pandion Power

7.30 – Party Central

8.00 – Nucky Johnson

8.30 – Step To Somewhere