Dublin Racing Festival 2023

Dublin Racing Festival 2023

As we’re closing in on the Cheltenham Festival, this weekend, all eyes will be on Leopardstown and its two-day Dublin Racing Festival, which marks one of the final opportunities to pick up hints and hips ahead of the Festival next month.
And no doubt, only a few weeks ago, the antepost for the Festival looked a lot different as since then a number of horses have weren’t meant to run have been added; equally a few horses that were topping the lists have been withdrawn. More on that could be found on our Cheltenham Antepost Special.
The relevance of this upcoming two race Festival at Leopardstown shouldn’t be ignored as it’s come to play a major factor in terms of providing Cheltenham Festival clues and this year’s meeting should be no exception, as the likes of State Man, Blue Lord, Lossiemouth, Galopin Des Champs and many more ante-post favourites will be in action across the two days.


Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors ‘€50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff’ Novices’ Hurdle

The first of the weekend’s Grade 1 races at Leopardstown is the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors ‘€50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff’ Novices’ Hurdle, which has attracted a very strong field to kickstart this high-class fixture.
Understandably, the betting is currently headed by Good Land, available at 2/1, who returned a good winner at this course over two-miles four-furlongs last time. Although some many believe that his victory isn’t enough to justify the level of backing for this race as he steps up considerably in grade, but we believe Good Land is for the good people and definitely worth a punt. Meanwhile, another horse, firmly in the mix is the six year old, Paul Nolan trained Sandor Clegane (4/1), who arrives on the back of an easy success at Punchestown.
It’s worth mentioning that he is jumping up from a maiden hurdle straight to a Grade 1 so improvement is required but, different to Good Land, Sandor Clegane is one for the shrewd punter and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Moreover, Paul Nolan has had a few tricky years and being such an excellent trainer, it’d be good to see him properly bounce back.
Gordon Elliot is coming in with a number of fantastic horses, American Mike, being one of them, who is available at 5/1 this weekend. He’s got an excellent chance if able to jump with more fluency than last time. He’s a smart prospect and his three-length second in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham reads well in the context of this race.
He holds entries in the Supreme, Ballymore and Albert Bartlett at the Festival in March but most likely, we will see him go down the Albert Bartlett route, in which he is a general 12/1 chance, and that price could look huge should he return to winning ways this weekend.
Some have argued that he’s the best horse in this race and perhaps, if he can channel his true ability, he should go close and be able to book his return to the Festival in March.


Spring Juvenile Hurdle 

The second race at the Dublin Racing Festival is the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle, where Willie Mullins holds the aces.
As it stands, the current Triumph Hurdle favourite at the  Cheltenham Festival, Lossiemouth, bids to keep his unbeaten record intact.
In essence, this race in particular has been a notable pointer towards identifying the Triumph Hurdle winner as seven of the last 11 Triumph Hurdle winners contested this race beforehand. This race is without question the best trial for the Triumph. That being said, it may be too early to completely write off Gala Marceau – a horse Mullins himself has been raving about since the beginning of the season. And it’s unusual for Mullins to be so vocal about a horse unless it’s rather special.
Last year’s winner Vauban is a perfect example of what this race can produce. Lossiemouth, who is 4/9 favourite this weekend, has won all three hurdle starts to date and the form of her Fairyhouse success has been advertised since with the third Comfort Zone winning on Trials Day at Cheltenham last weekend.
If Lossiemouth extends her unbeaten record here, there is no doubt she’ll be even shorter for the Triumph Hurdle betting and it’ll take a good one to beat her.
The leading trainer in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle over the last 20 renewals is W Mullins who has won the race 5 times. Those 5 winners came from Mister Hight (2006), Petite Parisienne (2015), Footpad (2016), Mr Adjudicator (2018) & Vauban (2022). Other trainers who have recorded multiple wins in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle are Gordon Elliott (2 wins), Joseph Patrick O’Brien (2 wins) & D K Weld (2 wins).

Irish Arkle Novice Chase

The Irish Arkle Novice Chase has been a notable good guide to finding Cheltenham Festival winners over the years. Douvan, Un De Sceau, Footpad, Energumene are just a handful of winners of this race this century to have also scored at the Festival in March.
Coincidentally, all of those mentioned were and are trained by Willie Mullins and it appears the champion trainer has a stranglehold on this year’s field as well, as four of the first five in the market are trained by the man himself.
Up until a few days ago, this was a, somehow, open race, and then Appreciate It was entered, which saw many punters, in rage, rip up their antepost slips. No doubt this incredible horse is now the favourite at 5/4. And it’s easy to see why; he is four-from-four at Leopardstown, with two of those wins coming in Grade 1 company and whilst he hasn’t beaten much in both his chase starts and there is more to come.
Paul Townend will most likely choose to ride him over his stablemates and it’ll take a good performance from anything else to see his colours lowered that’s for sure.
However, if there is one horse to spoil his party it could end up being stablemate  Saint Roi (7/1) who is a front runner in the antepost betting market in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Interestingly, Saint Roi is the ONLY Grade 1 winner over fences in this field, which counts for plenty, and the fact he is still available at an attractive 7/1 makes him a standout each-way proposition here.

The Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup

The Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup is one of the biggest renewals on the National Hunt calendar and the Grade 1 contest over 3m should offer a few clues for the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. 
In fact, just three horses have won this race and the Gold Cup in the same season – and Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs (1/3) is set to bid to become the fourth to achieve the feat. Having said that, stablemate Stattler (7/2), the winner of last season’s National Hunt Chase, is prominent in the early market after an encouraging run on seasonal reappearance behind Minella Indo in the New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore.
Meanwhile, Gordon Elliott has won this race twice in the last three years and relies on track-and-trip winner Fury Road, while Grand National hopes The Big Dog (Peter Fahy) and Any Second Now (Ted Walsh) complete the list of potential runners.

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