In truth the build up to the 2019 Michael Fortune Night of Stars began last November.
With each passing year, the night seems to be more in the consciousness of handlers on both sides of the pond with many targeting the night of celebration from months out.
The preparations for this year’s night are moving swiftly and already a number of classic winners, as well as most of Ireland’s best, have been named as likely participants. Indeed, just moments after capturing the Derby, the connections of Lenson Bocko suggested it would be his next target.
If Lenson Bocko does line up on the night, he will be bidding to become just the second Derby winner since the inaugural Night of Stars in 2012 to complete the double. Of course, Laughil Blake became the first Derby champion to win a Night of Stars race in 2014. 2018 Derby champion Ballyanne Sim and the 2015 winner Ballymac Matt have since tried, without luck, to achieve the double.
There will undoubtedly be a few entries from the UK also and their presence adds greatly to the sense of occasion and history would suggest they are far from back-numbers when arriving. Indeed, there have been a number of British winners over the previous seven years of the Night of Stars and it would be unwise to rule out another one or two in 2019.
As always, the night will consistent of eight championship races over all distances with €10,000 on offer to the winner of each.
The details of which are: Those hoping to have a runner(s) are requested to get their entries in nice and early. Entries for the annual showpiece will close on Monday, November 25th at midday and there will also be a number of open races over various distances on the undercard with each featuring a €2,000 winner’s prize.