Horse Racing: Dublin Racing Festival Preview, Sandown & Wetherby

The Dublin Festival from Leopardstown is the main event this weekend along with some fascinating cards at Sandown and Wetherby.

Stefan Fellows

Another action-packed weekend of racing for us to enjoy with the highlight being the 2-day Dublin Festival at Leopardstown.

The first of 4 Grade 1 races kicks the day off at Leopardstown (12.50). Trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliot both hold a strong hand across the weekend, as expected and are represented by Elixir D`Ainay and Fury Road here; although, it`s the Paul Nolan trained Latest Exhibition who is expected to take the prize and back up his victory over And Dufresne at Navan last time out.

Willie Mullins is mob-handed, being responsible for half of those that line up for the Dublin Chase (1.25). Min looks sure to go close in his attempt to win this race for the second year running, but it`s another from the Mullins camp who gets the vote.

Horse Racing

Chacun Pour Soi finished behind the re-opposing A Plus Tard over course and distance recently but that was the selections first run back since beating Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown in May.

Another re-opposing pair cross swords again at 2.00 with Fakir D`oudairies looking to seek revenge on Notebook, and it`s the Henry De Bromhead trained, Rachel Blackmore ridden gelding fancied to come out on top again.

The Irish Champion Hurdle is the final Grade 1 on the first day of the Dublin Festival, with the likeable mare Honeysuckle looking to extend her unbeaten sequence. The winner of all 6 of her starts, she receives a handy allowance and after already proving herself well equipped to mix it with the boys, she will be a popular choice for many.

Sharjah, Petite Mouchoir and Klassical Dream all meet here in December with Sharjah coming out on top that day. Klassical Dream made a race-ending mistake at the fourth hurdle that day and it`s hoped that last year’s impressive Supreme winner can get his season back on course today.

Horse Racing Tips 3

3.45 Leopardstown: FANSBET PAYING EXTRA PLACE 1-2-3-4-5 (16 or more runners) 

Sandown holds a good quality card; previous course and distance winner Call Me Lord (1.50 Sandown) looks one for favourite backers, arriving here on the back of a good victory at Cheltenham. Trainer Nicky Henderson has an excellent record in this Listed Hurdle race (6 wins from last 9 years).

Laurina is an interesting runner in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novice Chase (2.25 Sandown). The high-class Willie Mullins trained mare, looks to bounce back to form after her disappointing run at Leopardstown; a winner on this card last year she has to be respected receiving weight from all her rivals.

Good Boy Bobby looks to be improving over fences and put in another solid effort last time out, when finishing behind Mister Fisher. Midnight Shadow was a winner at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and he will be looking to take another valuable prize back north.

Itchy Feet had just the 2 rivals to beat on his chase debut recently, but there was plenty to suggest he is going to take well to the bigger obstacles. His hurdle form last season, notably when finishing third in last season’s Supreme, is some of the best on offer here and he is expected to continue the fine run of form for trainer Olly Murphy (37% strike Rate last 30 days).

With 17 runners the 3-mile Handicap Hurdle Race (3.00 Sandown) has a wide-open look to it and plenty can be given some chance. Previous running’s tell us we should be focussing on those towards the lower end of the weights, who have not done much winning over hurdles.

One who fits the profile is Go Whatever who looks to be on the upgrade and will have no issues with conditions based on his course and distance win last time out.

Horse Racing Tips 3

3.00 Sandown: FANSBET PAYING EXTRA PLACE 1-2-3-4-5 (16 or more runners)

Some experienced chasers look set to do battle at 3:35. However, one who has just the 3 chase starts is Deise Aba, who he looks open to improvement still and is sure to have his followers for the powerful Phillip Hobbs / Tom O`Brien partnership.

One who appeals at larger odds is Diable De Sivola, the Gary Moore runner, is still a maiden over the larger obstacles from 10 attempts but there was enough promise in his Newbury run recently to suggest this stiffer test could suit and he ran one of his best chase efforts at this course last April.

Paul Nicholls sends his usual raiding party north of the border to Musselburgh; with a 38% strike rate at the Scottish track, all 6 of his runners on the card will need serious consideration. He is represented by Miranda at 2:05 in the Scottish County Hurdle.

The Camelot mare won readily last time out at Kempton and looks on the upgrade still having shown a real liking for these sharper courses. From speedy types to staying power, the 4-mile trip will take some getting at 3:15 in the Edinburgh National Handicap Steeple Chase.

Extra Places

Little Power is sure to be popular, arriving here on the back of his victory at Catterick over this trip earlier this month. Sumkindofking was 3 lengths behind that day and you would expect little between both again. Chic Name has been running respectably in cross country races at Cheltenham.

Wonderful Charm is also likely to be involved for Paul Nicholls. It`s another southern raider though who gets the vote this time, Bob Mahler looked a progressive chaser last spring winning his last 3 starts. His form has levelled out a little this winter but he ran a promising race last time out over 3 miles and the step up in trip could bring out a little more improvement.

Over at Wetherby, 4 last time out winners will take each other on in the Towton Novices’ Steeple Chase Grade 2 event (2.45). One of those, Chapel Stile, has a bit to find on the ratings but this progressive type looks to improve with his racing and it would be no surprise if he steps up again with the extra distance today in his favour.

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