Hello and welcome to Irish Racing Notes by Miglogs – Leopardstown Dublin Racing Festival Preview.
This past week saw Willie Mullins unleash some of his next generation at Punchestown on 29th January.
Of note were easy winners Another Way and Billericay Dickie, with the latter winning eye-catchingly well.
Both hold entries for Cheltenham Supreme Novices’, with Billericay Dickie also entered the Baring Bingham Novices’.
This weekend also sees several of this stable’s monsters run at the Leopardstown festival, with rarely beaten State Man (1/4 Fav), El Fabiola (2/7 Fav), and Gaelic Warrior (10/11 Fav) being must-watches on Sunday, among many of his other runners.
El Fabiola has been a possible runner in England last week but is being kept for this race instead.
His entry Hens Tooth for Saturday’s flat race won easily in Limerick last Saturday but might be up against it in a stacked race.
His recent recruit Storm Heart (11/8 Fav) is Paul Townend’s pick for the 1:50 juvenile hurdle on Saturday, with a notable Punchestown 22-length win in its first run for the yard at the end of December.
This should be a good race with Gordon Elliott’s recent C&D winner Kala Conti in opposition in what may be a telling race for Storm Heart’s prospects in the Cheltenham festival’s Triumph Hurdle.
Brian Hayes takes the ride on one of Willie Mullins’ other entries in this race Bunting (10/1), which is currently a 7/1 entry for the Triumph Hurdle and won impressively in the Limerick Maiden Hurdle recently.
Last year’s Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ winner, Barry Connell’s still unbeaten Marine Nationale (2/5 Fav), makes its 2nd chase start in the Irish Arkle at 2:25 on Saturday after making an excellent start to its chase career over C&D at the end of December.
This should be a very interesting watch with its entry in the Cheltenham Festival’s Arkle Novices’ Chase in mind.
Saturday’s 3:35 Irish Gold Cup sees the return of absolute superstar and reigning Irish and Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Galophin Des Champs (4/9 Fav) to defend his title.
In a four-horse race is it possible to look anywhere else for the winner of this? I certainly don’t think so.
Sunday’s 1:40 Novice Hurdle (2m) is hard to look beyond only once beaten Ballyburn (10/11 Fav), which is currently 5/2 for both the Supreme Novices’ (2m 1/2f) and Bingham Novices’ (2m5f) Hurdles at Cheltenham (find the best Cheltenham tipsters here).
The shorter distance is a question here, with this horse having won at 2m4f around Leopardstown in December, the outcome here may be a pointer to which of those races this horse will eventually compete in Cheltenham.
Sunday’s flat race (4:25) sees Willie run his unbeaten Aurora Vega (5/4 Fav), which could be an interesting indicator for a horse that you would think may be set up to target this year’s Cheltenham Champion Bumper.
Is this going to be the Willie Mullins weekend in Dublin?
With the number of quality horses he has on show it’s hard to see anything else happening.
An interesting outsider for Saturday’s Leopardstown 1:20 is Jessica Harrington’s Course winner Jetara, which has had a bit of money for it being backed into 4/1 from 8/1, with Rachel Blackmore taking a notable first-time ride on this horse.
This horse holds interesting entries for both the Close Brothers Mares Hurdle and Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
Short note on flat racing
Adrian Murray and Amo Racing’s successful collaboration showed no signs of ending at Dundalk on Friday 26th January, with relative novices Manhattan Dreamer and Elegant Man both duly obliging.
Elegant Man is one for the books, winning well here and notably going close in a listed race at Kempton in the middle of December, it will be interesting to watch what race they target next with this well-thought-of young prospect.
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