Dublin Racing Festival 2020
Author: Jordan Yates
The Dublin Racing Festival kicks off at 12:50 on Saturday at Leopardstown with a Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over two miles and six furlongs. I think the opener can go to LATEST EXHIBITON for Paul Nolan and Bryan Cooper, he was last seen when getting the better of the smart Andy Dufresne in a Grade 2 at Navan and before that finishing a solid second behind Supreme Favourite Abacadabras in a Grade 3 at the same track. He looks a very smart prospect, however, he’ll have to step up again if he is to get the better of the likes of Elixir D’Ainay and Fury Road who will be big players here.
LATEST EXHIBITION (3/1)
It’s another Grade 1 next at 1:25 in the form of the Dublin Chase which is contested over two miles and a furlong. This looks an absolute cracker of which Willie Mullins has as many as four representatives in the race and I believe he can take it with the eight-year-old that is CHACUN POUR SOI who’s to be ridden by Paul Townend. He was beaten by one of today’s rivals A Plus Tard the last day, which came as a surprise given his short price. However, a lot of the Mullins runners were needing their first run earlier in the season and it’s likely he’ll come on bundles for that. If returning to the form of his Punchestown form when getting the better of Defi Du Seuil he’ll be very tough to beat. A Plus Tard, Min, and Ciaos Emery are all major threats.
CHACUN POUR SOI (6/4)
Next up at 2:00 is the Arkle Novice Chase another Grade 1 event, also ridden over a distance of two miles and a furlong. This race looks to be between the top two in the betting in Notebook and Fakir D’Ourdaires, who did battle here over Christmas with the former coming out on top. I have tried to take them both on though and I’ve done that with Willie Mullins’ CASH BACK. He arrives here off the back of two impressive victories in novice chases and despite having a bit to find on form with the market principals, I think he could well prove up to the top level over the bigger obstacles. Baupaume can’t be ruled out either for Mullins, a smart hurdler who opened his account over fences last time at Naas.
CASH BACK (13/2) (E/W)
The 2:35 is one of the most competitive races on the card, it’s a handicap chase ridden over two miles and a furlong and is for horses rated between 0-150. A case could be made for most of the field here and the one I’ve taken a chase on is a Gigginstown runner in the form of ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU who’s the ride of Stuart O’Keefe for Gordon Elliott. He won a novice chase earlier in the year and has since gone on to post respectable efforts in Graded company, he’s back down into a handicap here and looks a lot less unexposed and more progressive than most of these. Snugsborough Hall sets the standard for me, if dealing with a 16-pound rise he could prove tough to beat.
ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU (6/1) (E/W)
We move onto the Irish Champion Hurdle which is set to take place at 3:10, another Grade 1 event. The race looks somewhat of a matchup between the first two in the betting and I think it will be HONEYSUCKLE that comes out on top for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. She’s taken all before her so far this season which culminated with a devastating success in a Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle at Punchestown the last day. She’ll have to be at her best again here to get the better of multiple Grade 1 winner Sharjah, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet.
It’s another extremely competitive affair next in the form of the Ladbrokes Hurdle at 3:45, which is a two-mile handicap hurdle for horses rated between 0-150. I’ve taken a chance on Willie Mullins’ five-year-old TIGER TAP TAP here who can be found trading at a best-priced of around 10/1 (Coral). He was tried in hot graded races before getting off the mark in novice events, he could prove to be well treated now within handicap company and if getting a bit of luck could run a big race here.
TIGER TAP TAP (10/1) (E/W)
The concluding race on Day 1 of the Dublin Racing Festival is the Grade 2 Bumper at 4:20 and this looks another clash between the two at the top of the market. The one I think will come out on top here is ERIC BLOODAXE for Gordon Elliott, he’s looked impressive in both wins this season and looks an exciting prospect for his top connections. Appreciate It looks the obvious main danger for the Mullins team.
ERIC BLOODAXE (15/8)