Magic weekend racing from Leopardstown- Day 1 preview by Aaron Casey

A magical weekend racing is in store for all of us to enjoy from Sandown, Musselborough, Wetherby but the main event this weekend is the Dublin Racing Festival with 8 grade 1’s over the two days and great prize money. Where we could see potential superstars and Cheltenham clues for March.

One of the races of the festival kicks us off with the Nathaniel Lacey & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle Grade 1 over 2 miles 6 furlongs, this is a serious bunch of staying novice hurdlers from serious impressive maiden hurdle winners to top class graded form. Ashdale Bob, Fakiera and Vanillier all have graded form over 2m 4f to 3m. Ganapathi takes a big step in trip after finishing
second to Dreal Deal over 2m in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice hurdle. Impressive maiden hurdle winners include Gentlemansgame, Cape Gentleman, Stattler and Shadow Rider all did the job impressive and step up to Grade 1 standard. The rematch between Holymacapony and Gaillard Du Mesnil is intriguing, preference go to highly touted Gaillard Du Mesnil to reverse
that form with Holymacapony who needs to come back to form after pulling up in Navan behind Ashdale Bob and Fakiera. Gaillard Du Mesnil was ultra-impressive in the way he travelled and quicken clear of the field and the second and third has advertised that form very
well by winning since.
Selection: 1:05 Gaillard Du Mesnil 5/2

Ladbrokes Dublin chase over 2 miles see the rematch with Chacun Pour Soi and Min from last year and this year add in Notebook who brings high-class novice form from last season and 2 nd when well held by Chacun Pour Soi over Christmas. Chacun’s cruising speed and jumping is a joy to watch and should win this again before the champion chase, Min and Notebook will have
a ding dong battle for Second and Third.

There is a lot of pace on offer in the Irish Arkle Novice chase with Energumene, Felix Desjy and Unexcepted forcing a blissing pace upfront with Captain Guinness and Darver Star watching the proceedings go on. The ground should suit Energumene and this is another quality race to watch and enjoy them winging fences over 2 miles around Leopardstown.

In the Matheson Handicap Chase, Port Stanley catches my eye off 135, he ran well in beginners’ chases this season, finished 2 nd to Aramax the last day but he is a horse of potential to do well in these races. While Aramax , Entoucas and The Shunter might have big races planned for them in the future. Port Stanley at 12/1 each way seems right.

Selection: Port Stanley 12/1

The unbeaten Honeysuckle defends her crown in this field of 6, Two-time Hatton Grace hurdle winner and Mares Hurdle Honeysuckle is out to remain unbeaten but faces tough competition over 2 miles here in the shape of Sharjah, Saint Roi, Saldier and Abacadabras. Honeysuckle hurdling over 2m needs to improve from last year when just getting up to beat Darver Star.
There are a lot of pacey 2 milers in this race. Sharjah who is top class on his day, the ground is a concern for him, Saint Roi won the county hurdle like a grade 1 horse while he is slightly disappointing this season, he has speed, should benefit from a stronger gallop here.
Abacacdabras brings top class novice form winning a grade 1 around this course last Christmas and 2 nd to Shishkin in the supreme, this season he won the Morgana hurdle while he was disappointing over Christmas, Gordons Team was not firing as well. Saint Roi is a hopeful and brave selection to put against the superstar mare Honeysuckle, but Horses are not machines so Saturday could be the day Honeysuckle could lose her 100% record. Willie Mullins has an incredible record over these two fantastic days of racing. This is a race to
sit back and enjoy.
Selection: Saint Roi 5/1 OR Saint Roi Without Honeysuckle

In the two-mile handicap hurdle, Eskylane caught my eye all week for this, his 5 th in the champion bumper was eye-catching while he has been slightly disappointing so far over hurdles, off a mark of 133 seems leaned for me and Denis O’Reagan on board. He needs to go up 5 pounds to get into the Martin pipe or a handicap in Cheltenham. It is a very competitive Handicap hurdle the reappearance of Cheltenham bumper 2 nd 2019 Blue Sari has bigger day
ahead of him.
Selection: Eskylane 9/1

Kilcruit should take the world of beating in the Grade 2 Future stars bumper for the same connections as last year with Appreciate It. Chemical Energy has been impressive in his two starts to date for Jamie Codd and Gordon Elliott who has an array of talented youngsters such as Sir Gerhard, Hollow Games, Gerri Colombe and Three Stripe Life. Willie Mullins has Kilcruit , Ramillies and Whatdeawant in there for the €100,000 bumper, Ramillies and Whatdeawant
won impressively last time but Patrick thinks the world of Kilcruit who could be another star for connections.
Selection: Kilcruit 7/4

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