Paul Callaghan’s Dublin Racing Festival Tips – Leopardstown – Sunday 7th February
Former jockey turned broadcaster Paul Callaghan previews Sunday’s Grade One action at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
1.40 Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2 miles.
Quilixios will take some beating in this, for the trainer/jockey combination of Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy. He’s a perfect 2 victories from two starts over hurdles in Ireland, and he also won over hurdles, on his sole start in France, when trained by Francois Nicole.
2.10 Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2 miles.
Last season’s runner-up in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, Appreciate It, is 2 from 2 over hurdles so far, and one of those victories was in Grade 1 company at Leopardstown over the Christmas period. He’s difficult to oppose.
Of the others, if Blue Lord settles better than he did at Naas on his last start, has the potential to run a big race.
The lightly races Cask Mate, is also worth a mention, who incredibly hasn’t finished out of the first 2, since April 2017.
I would love to see French Light, who was a surprise declaration for American trainer Keri Brion, run a big race. I would imagine his participation is weather dependent, as anymore rain, would surely put a stop to him taking his chance.
3.10 Novice Chase (Grade 1) over 2 miles 5 furlongs 93 yards.
Monkfish beat Latest Exhibition by a neck, over hurdle, at the festival last March. He beat him by 3 lengths, in a Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period.
I think Monkfish will put further daylight between them on Sunday afternoon.
He’s a big brute of a horse, who didn’t appear to have an overly hard race, on his last start, which is incredible, considering it was a Grade 1. For me, Monkfish will confirm his superiority in this one.
3.40 Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1) over 3 miles 107 yards.
Kemboy looked back on song, when finishing second behind A Plus Tard on his latest outing. Delta Work and Jack Kennedy are reunited, which is a positive for his supporters.
All things considered, it is Minella Indo who gets my vote.
However, I don’t think it will be as clear cut as the betting would suggest.
Minella Indo made an uncharacteristic mistake and paid the price, when falling at the eighth fence in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on the 28th of December.
Prior to that, he impressed, when scoring on his previous two starts this season, at Wexford and Navan respectively. He was second in the RSA Chase at the festival last March, behind Champ and I think he can get back on track in this one.
4.10 Leopardstown – Treacysenniscorthy
You could do worse than have a small wager on the Robert Widger trained runner, who was a good winner on heavy ground at Cork, at the beginning of January. He’ll need to find a little more off a rating of 137, but this is only his career start number 18, so that’s possible. He has a handy weight in this ultra competitive handicap, which is a plus, should ground conditions remain testing.
*Prices correct at time of publication