After Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham last Saturday, the Irish stars of the National Hunt scene test their credentials at the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend. With 7 Grade 1’s across two days of racing at Leopardstown, there are sure to be some festival clues to keep any eye on.
Yorkhill v Min, Footpad v Petit Mouchoir and Faugheen v Melon are three of the clashes on the card for Saturday, while Sunday will see the likes of unbeaten Espoir D’Allen, Sutton Place, and Our Duke strutting their stuff. The Irish Gold Cup on Sunday, is the third race in our Road To Cheltenham offer. If you have already placed two qualifying bets, now is the time to lock in that £10 Free Bet for Cheltenham. If you haven’t opted in yet, you can do so here!
4TH Feb: Irish Gold Cup, 15:35 Leopardstown
Jessica Harrington won this race last year with Sizing John, who went on to win the Gold Cup at The Cheltenham Festival in March. She saddles Our Duke this time around who currently heads the market at 11/4. He was a progressive novice chaser last year, culminating in Irish Grand National success in April. He was pulled up on his return in November and will need to put any back issues behind him if he is to have a profitable spring campaign.
Top trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins could be well represented, with the likes of Outlander (13/2) and Killultagh Vic (9/2) currently entered at this stage. Killultagh Vic returned from nearly two years off the track to win at Punchestown at the end of last year. That was over hurdles and he will need much more to win this on only his 4th start over fences. Outlander is an admirable horse who turns up in all the big events, but he could find a couple too good again here.
Henry De Bromhead is having a fine season so far and has multiple Grade 1 winner Valseur Lido (9/1) entered here. He wasn’t disgraced when finishing 5th here at Christmas (his first run since finishing 4th in the same race the year before) and has some smart form to his name. He probably would have won this race in 2016 before unseating his rider at the last and he followed that up with a 2nd behind the exceptional Vautour in the Ryanair Chase. He will need to return to his very best but that is not out of the question and others ahead of him in the market have bigger obstacles to overcome.
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*Prices correct at time of publication