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number of horses have weren’t meant to run have been added; equally a few horses that were topping the lists have been withdrawn.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.