And they’re off! Cheltenham preview returns to Ballygar

After a highly-successful 2015 Cheltenham preview night, Tierney’s Bar in Ballygar will once again host what promises to be a most enjoyable festival preview when some of Ireland and Britain’s top form experts and jockeys descend on the village on Thursday, March 3rd.

  Those who were present 12 months ago will have fond memories of the night’s nap Don Poli, winning the RSA chase, much to the horror of main sponsors Starsports Bookmakers, who were rumoured to have lost close to €15,000 on the night (thanks largely to the wisdom imparted by the panel and the fearlessness shown by the punters in attendance).

  Starsports return once again as title sponsors and the panel this year is made up of a mix of new and familiar faces.

  Kevin Blake, who returns from last year, has established himself as one of the leading voices in Irish racing. A breeder, journalist and regular on At The Races, he writes thought-provoking columns both for the Irish Field and At The Races.

  Gavin Lynch was a huge hit last year and he returns to take over the chairman’s role. A shrewd punter himself he has worked part-time for the Racing Post for a number of years.

  Johnny Ward writes and tips for The Racing Post and is a native of Newbridge, just five miles down the road. He regularly reports from the Galway and Roscommon race meetings. He will also be working for RTE during the festival.

  The first of the three newcomers is UK journalist Geoff Lester. He is a hugely experienced journalist and broadcaster and has worked for The Sporting Life, The Weekender and The Sportsman. He can regularly be found contributing on GBI, which provides international coverage of British and Irish racing.

  Jane Mangan is one of the top female jockeys in the country. Indeed, many comparisons have been drawn between her and Ireland’s top female amateurs, Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh. The first female jockey to win the GPT in Galway in 2012 on board Midnight Music, for Dermot Weld.

  Mikey Fogarty completes the line-up. One of Ireland’s up and coming young jockeys has ridden 21 winners so far this season, and has also ridden this season for grade 1 winning trainers such as W Mullins, A O’Brien, G Elliott and P Nolan.

  For a mere €10 entry, patrons get a free €50 matched bet from sponsors Starsports Bookmakers. There will also be a raffle and prediction competition on the night. All proceeds will go to New GAA Development in the area and tickets are available locally or at the door on the night. The event begins at 8.30 pm.