Dublin Racing Festival Preview
The highly anticipated Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown is here and Racing TV's expert Donn McClean has identified several horses who may be overpriced with our best betting sites at this year's meeting.
Some of the top National Hunt horses in Ireland look set to compete over the course of the weekend in a total of 15 races, including eight Grade 1's. Here is a brief look ahead to those Grade 1 contests.
Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (13:20 Saturday)
Good Land was impressive in winning his maiden hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, and his owner/trainer Barry Connell nominated the Dublin Racing Festival curtain-raiser as his next target shortly afterwards.
That maiden hurdle has been working out well in the interim, and there is no knowing how good the Blue Bresil gelding could be.
Sandor Clegane was also eye-taking in winning his maiden hurdle at Punchestown in November, and it wouldn’t be surprising if either American Mike or Granceclare West bounced back from defeats in graded races last time.
Donohue Marquees Spring Juvenile Hurdle (13:55 Saturday)
Lossiemouth has proven herself to be the outstanding juvenile hurdler this season and that is reflected in the ante-post Triumph Hurdle markets with betting apps.
Willie Mullins’ mare looked good in winning a Grade 3 contest at Fairyhouse in early December, and she was even better in winning the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle over Saturday’s course and distance at the Christmas Festival.
She may have most to fear from her stable companions Gala Marceau, Guest Of Wind and Tekao, in a contest that the champion trainer appears to have by the scruff of the neck.
Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase (14:30 Saturday)
This is another contest in which Willie Mullins appears to hold the whip hand. Winner of the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Appreciate It is a relatively late recruit to steeplechasing, but he has been impressive in winning his two chases to date.
Dysart Dynamo was a high-class novice hurdler last season, and he won his beginners’ chase at Leopardstown over Christmas by 28 lengths, while El Fabiolo jumped alright in winning his beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse just before Christmas.
Banbridge looks like the main threat to team Mullins, who was the winner of the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March.
Joseph O’Brien’s horse won the Grade 2 Arkle Trial at Cheltenham in November, and his fluency over his fences will be a big asset to take into this race.
Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (15:05 Saturday)
Galopin Des Champs is a seriously exciting steeple chaser for the future, he won the Ladbrokes Novice Chase at this meeting last year and the Grade 1 BoyleSports Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April.
Willie Mullins’ horse also took the step into open company in his stride when he won the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in December on his debut this season.
He has been a short-priced favourite for the 2023 Gold Cup for a while now, and many punters have already used their Cheltenham offers on him to secure a better price than what he will likely go off on the day.
Stattler won the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March and he was only just beaten by Minella Indo in the Savills Chase at Tramore on New Year’s Day on his debut this season, when he was conceding 8lb to the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
He should be better over three miles at Leopardstown than he was over 2m6f at Tramore.
Kemboy – winner of this race in 2021 – and Fury Road, second and third respectively in the (other) Savills Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, could be playing for places again.
Ladbrokes Novice Chase (13:40 Sunday)
Mighty Potter was a high-class novice hurdler last season, a Grade 1-winning novice hurdler, he took another step forward in winning the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse in December on his second run over fences.
Gordon Elliott’s horse travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out that day, and he stayed on strongly to come home four and a half lengths clear of Gaillard Du Mesnil.
Marie Donnelly’s horse may be in opposition again on Sunday, and he has since won the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, but he is obviously going to have to step forward again if he is going to reverese placings with the Drinmore Chase winner.
James Du Berlais and El Fabiolo are both exciting unbeaten chasers and the inclusion of either would add to the intrigue of the race.
Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (14:10 Sunday)
Sunday could be a busy day for owners Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, because their horse Blue Lord looks certain to be sent off a short-priced favourite with horse racing betting sites for the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.
The Blue Bresil gelding has won six of his seven chases to date, and he probably put up the best performance of his life last time when he won the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase over Sunday’s course and distance at the Christmas Festival.
Willie Mullins has won all five renewals of this race in its current guise with two horses – Min (2) and Chacun Pour Soi (3) – and he could also field the main danger to Blue Lord in Gentleman De Mee.
The Saint Des Saints gelding hasn’t won yet in three attempts this season, but if he could reproduce the form of the performance that he put up in winning the Maghull Chase at Aintree in April, when he beat the Arkle winner Edwardstone by four and a half lengths, then he would be a threat to all.
Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (15:10 Sunday)
They applauded as Honeysuckle left the parade ring before the Irish Champion Hurdle last year, and they raised the roof when she and Rachael Blackmore came back into the winner’s enclosure, her third Irish Champion Hurdle in the bag.
Since then, Henry de Bromhead’s mare has won her second Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and her second Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.
She was beaten for the first time in 17 runs – 18 if you include her point-to-point – in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on her debut this season, but in State Man and Vauban, she will face two worthy adversaries on Sunday.
But there is every chance that she will bounce back again, and you know for sure that racing fans will cheer for her again.
Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle (15:40 Sunday)
Son of another remarkable racemare in Quevega, six-time winner of the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, Facile Vega is living up to his reputation on the racecourse.
He won his four bumpers last season, including the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and Punchestown, and he has won his two hurdle races so far this season.
He may face his toughest opponent to date though on Sunday in High Definition.
Joseph O’Brien’s horse was high-class on the flat when he was trained by the trainer’s father Aidan.
He won the Beresford Stakes and he finished second in the Tattersalls Gold Cup as a four-year-old, and he kept on well to win his maiden hurdle on his hurdling bow at Leopardstown over Christmas.
With Gaelic Warrior, Dark Raven, Inthepocket and Irish Point all possible runners at this stage, this is set to be another fascinating contest.
Stay In The Loop With Free Bets, Insider Tips & More!
Live Betting. Sports Promos. Sent Weekly.