This weekend's Dublin Racing Festival is littered with handicap good-things and Cheltenham Festival betting favourites, so we've cherry-picked the five best betting tips on offer at Leopardstown.
Previous Grade 1 winner Le Richebourg is 7/4 favourite in the Irish Arkle betting, and does look hard to beat in Saturday’s 2m1f novice chase (3.45). But we like the British raider Knocknanuss, who won a solid novice handicap chase at Newbury two starts ago by 17 lengths, carrying 11st 2lb.
Trainer Gary Moore has always held the nine-year-old in high regard and jumping appears to be a key asset to the son of Beneficial, winner of two of his four chase starts.
“If he can jump round here he can jump round anywhere,” said trainer Gary Moore after his Newbury victory.
Knockanuss found only Grade 1-winning hurdler Master Dino too good at Plumpton over 2m3.5f last time out, and with the trip and ground likely to suit at the Dublin Racing Festival, he holds strong claims of Irish Arkle victory at a stand-out 100/30 with Black Type.
Trainer Willie Mullins took the inaugural running of the Grade 1 Dublin Chase (3.10) at last year's first Dublin Racing Festival and looks set to win again with the same horse: Min.
Stablemate Footpad looked the yard's best hope of 2m chasing glory going into this season, but having fallen when beaten on seasonal debut, and finished second to Simply Ned at Leopardstown last time out, he is on a retrieval mission if lining up.
Despite that, the strength of his former form has him sharing favouritism in the Leopardstown betting with Min, neither priced bigger than odds of 13/8. But for me, Min is in the better form and is the better bet, Coral offering the best odds.
The only question is the ground. Owner Rich Ricci's eight-year-old has yet to race over fences on ground as quick as good to yielding, which it is at Leopardstown at the time of writing, so connections - and punters - will have their fingers crossed that the forecast rain (or snow or sleet) arrives.
In Dublin Racing Festival Sunday’s opening Mares Handicap Hurdle (12.40), small trainer Shane Crawley saddles Sassy Diva who has not been out of the first three in two years.
She’s won a heavy ground bumper at Wexford and a 2m maiden hurdle at Ayr on good ground at Ayr. The form of that Ayr victory boosted by the subsequent novice hurdle success of second Peters Cousin, and handicap third of fourth Jessiemac.
Meanwhile, Sassy Diva has gone on to be second in two Thurles novice hurdles, including a Listed event last time out, won by Cheltenham Mares' Novice Hurdle favourite Honeysuckle.
This eight-year-old tip represents a County Meath yard who came close to a victory in a competitive handicap hurdle at Down Royal on Tuesday, and off a nice racing weight of 10st, looks a serious each-way bet at 16/1 with Coral for her handicap debut.
Sunday's Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase (3.00) could see leading RSA Chase hope Delta Work bid to maintain his unbeaten chase record. However, with Grade 1 Kempton winner La Bague Au Roi and dual Grade 3 winner Winter Escape engaged also in the field, Leopardstown's 2m5f contest will be his toughest test to date.
The biggest priced of that trio in the Dublin Racing Festival betting is Winter Magic, trained by Aidan Howard to win his last three starts over fences and three of his four outings since joining the small Curragh stable.
The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old's two latest wins were in Grade 3 company over 2m4f, his last drawing a line to Delta Work as the well-beaten third Jetz had previously filled the same position behind that rival at Fairyhouse.
Winter Magic is such a good bet in this Leopardstown betting market because he doesn't seem to mind what ground he runs on, and at a generous 5/1 with William Hill here's our tip - although he is also entered in Saturday's shorter Irish Arkle.
A bad mistake in the valuable Paddy Power Chase over 2m5f at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting cost favourite Any Second Now big time, but Sunday's Grade A handicap chase (4.10) provides an opportunity for compensation.
He finished fifth over 3m that day, and it is unlikely he would have been capable of overhauling the winner Auvergnat, but he would certainly have finished a lot closer.
Still a maiden over fences, the Ted Walsh-trained seven-year-old, who was eighth at the Cheltenham Festival last year, has been raised just 1lb in the handicap and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the drop in trip to 2m5f, making the 12/1 888Sport offers look too big.
Up to €50 Wager Free Bonus
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+ T&C's Apply. New customers only. Begambleaware.org|
50% First Deposit Bonus up to €100 Promo Code: SNW100
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+. T&C Apply|
Bet €10, Get €30 in Free Bets Promo Code: 30fb
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+. T&C Apply|
Be the first to receive the latest welcome offers, free bets, tips and strategy