Airlie Beach makes Flat debut

Airlie Beach

Grade One-winning mare Airlie Beach makes her Flat debut on day three of Killarney's July Festival on Wednesday evening.

The daughter of Shantou won each of her first seven starts for Willie Mullins, rounding off the unbeaten run with victory in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse last December.

She disappointed for the first time when a leading contender for the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival, but showed her true colours when filling the runner-up spot behind Apple's Jade in the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April.

Airlie Beach makes her first start since in the Corcorans Furniture & Carpets Maiden and connections are hoping she can add to her tally, with her racing days coming to an end.

Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: "Airlie Beach is in good order and we're obviously looking forward to seeing her in action again.

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"She is in foal to Mount Nelson. She was a little bit late getting covered as we thought long and hard about whether we should keep her in training for another season.

"However, she's already won and been placed in a Grade One and has also won a Grade Three and a Listed race, so she's obviously a valuable broodmare prospect.

"The plan is to keep her going for the full 120 days she's allowed to run for and she will then be sold in foal later in the year.

"She was the first Grade One winner for the club and it's been a dream come true for everyone involved with her.

"A lot of people say some mares improve for being in foal, so we'll see how she performs on Wednesday."

Airlie Beach features in a 10-strong field, with Declan McDonogh taking the ride. Mullins also saddles recent Ballinrobe third She's So Flawless (Chris Hayes).

Other contenders include the Ger Lyons-trained Erratic Path (Colin Keane) and Dermot Weld's Alaykha (Pat Smullen).

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