Dublin Racing Festival Blog & Tips. (Sunday)

Sunday 5th February 2023

Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)

Welcome aboard to this blog for the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival, which is set to take place on Sunday at Leopardstown. I’m actually writing this on Friday so prices are likely to fluctuate, I’m kicking things off with the opener though on Sunday which is the 1.10 and it’s a Mares Handicap Hurdle that’s contested over two miles and a half of a furlong. This is really competitive, however, I’m taking a chance on Risk Belle at 6/1 for Mark Walsh and Willie Mullins. She’s had two starts for Willie Mullins so far, and on both occasions, she’s run respectably in graded company when finishing sixth and fourth behind Lossiemouth. Most notably here though, she’s getting a lot of weight off some of her rivals at the top of the market, and I think that should she could prove to be very well in. If she continues to progress and takes advantage of her mark here, she’s got every chance of going well at a decent price.

The next race I’ll be looking at is the 2:40 which is the Bulmers Handicap Chase that’s contested over a distance of two miles and five furlongs. Once again, this is an extremely competitive affair with as many as twenty-three runners said to go to post. I’ve been pretty boring here, as I’m siding with the current market leader which comes in the form of Indigo Breeze at 4/1 for the combination of Sam Ewing and Gordon Elliott. He’s had four runs to date this season but arrives here fresh having had a bit of a break since he was last seen at Cheltenham back in November. It’s his form from that race that makes him hard to beat here for me, as on that occasion he finished just under a length behind the The Real Whacker, who’s since gone on to prove himself as a real Grade 1 contender. If he runs up to that level again within this company, he’s going to be tough to beat. I think he’s got very solid claims here.

It’s the big race of the day at 3:10 and that’s where I’ll be now focusing my attention, this is of course the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle that’s ridden over two miles. This race has seen some of the greats take its spoils in years gone by, and this year’s renewal has thrown up an absolute belter, with defending champion Honeysuckle looking to fend off the new boy State Man at the top of the betting. Those two are obviously huge players here, however, I have actually taken both of them on, and I’ve done that with Vauban who’s currently a 7/2 chance for Danny Mullins and Willie Mullins. Now, it’s going to be a big ask for him to give Honeysuckle seven pounds and an equally big of ask to turn around the form with State Man from last time in the Matheson Hurdle. However, it was his first run of the season last time out, and he surprised connections with how well he actually ran to finish second in the style that he did. It’s pretty much guaranteed that he’ll improve from that effort, and I think that last season’s Triumph Hurdle winner could prove to be a better horse than State Man in the future. Honeysuckle is coming to the end of her career, and she did look a bit laboured last time out in the Hatton’s Grace when she lost her unbeaten record. It’s a big task set for the Ricci owned five-year-old, but I think that there’s bags of improvement yet to come from him

My fourth and final selection comes in the 4:10 which is more handicap company, this time contested over a distance of two miles. We’ve got seventeen runners going to post for this particular affair, and I’m being boring again by siding with the market leader which is Gaelic Warrior at 9/4 who’s another one for that man Willie Mullins. The five-year-old is set to be ridden by Paul Townend here and is a fascinating runner in this field off top weight. He arrives here having won a maiden hurdle and a conditions race this season by a combined total one hundred and one lengths, albeit, not beating much in terms of opposition. As a result of his success this season, he’s been propelled to a prominent position in Cheltenham Festival markets, most notably for the Ballymore, and he’ll want to be winning this if he is to stay there. I just think he’s a lot better than the opposition that he’ll face here, and he does fit the bill of the old saying of a “Grade 1 horse in a handicap” and if he’s anywhere near his best he should prove very difficult to beat. (NAP)