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Leopardstown: Dublin Racing Festival day one tips & preview

dublin racing festival

All of the Dublin Racing Festival from Leopardstown is live on Racing TV with the first six races also being shown on RTÉ.

The 2021 Dublin Racing Festival is finally upon us and despite being just the fourth edition, it has captured the racing world’s imagination almost instantly.

The DRF has beautifully filled the void between Christmas racing and the Cheltenham Festival in March with a staggering eight Grade 1s, two Grade 2 bumpers and five handicaps across the weekend.

It all kicks off with seven races on an action-packed Saturday so here are a few selections to help you out. Prices are correct as of 9pm Friday.

dublin racing festival

1.05 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors ’50k Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff’ Novice Hurdle 2m6f

A hotly contested novice hurdle to open the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, with Gaillard Du Mesnil a worthy favourite after his maiden hurdle win.

However, the field looks to have depth to it so we’ve taken a chance on Gavin Cromwell’s Vanillier. He beat Stattler in his maiden hurdle win at Naas back in November but was defeated last time out on heavy ground in Limerick.

Considering Stattler is 8/1 for this, it’s worth taking the 16/1 available each-way.

Selection: Vanillier 16/1 ew

1.35 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase 2m1f

A repeat of the 2020 Dublin Chase here as Chacun Pour Soi takes on stablemate Min over the 2m1f trip. With Min more of a middle distance horse in his later years, expect a similar result to last year where Chacun Pour Soi won by over three lengths.

If you want one at a wild price, Tornado Flyer could be worth a squeak each-way or in the betting-without-the-favourite market which most bookmakers offer. Can ignore his last run over 3m and  his one length second to Min previously at the John Durkan is good form. His first time back over 2m since January 2020 and if he is a better horse than he was last season, he could surprise a few.

Selection: Tornado Flyer 25/1 ew or w/o fav


2.10 Patrick Ward & Company Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase 2m1f

There is a growing feeling in Ireland that Energumene can put it up to hot-favourite Shiskin in the Arkle at Cheltenham.

While he is a worthy favourite here, it’s worth taking a chance on Willie MullinsFranco De Port. While the race at Christmas fell apart – due to them going to fast in front – Bryan Cooper’s mount won well and if the pace is quick in this, expect him to hit the frame.

Selection: Franco De Port 10/1 ew (NAP)

2.45 Matheson Handicap Chase 2m1f

The first of two handicaps on the Dublin Racing Festival Saturday card and the one we’ve gone for is The Shunter.

Very impressive over hurdles last time out, winning the Greatwood Hurdle and could be well treated back over fences. Could easily go off favourite if the money comes.

Selection: The Shunter 7/1 ew

dublin racing festival

3.15 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle 2m

Honeysuckle is unbeaten over hurdles so really, this should be a straightforward selection? It never is in racing and while the mare has toughed it out in races like this last year or indeed the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham, she didn’t impress on her reappearance. With her best distance realistically at 2m4f, it’s worth taking her on at the prices.

While I wouldn’t put you off Sharjah after he impressed at Christmas, he did disappoint in last year’s renewal. In that case, it’s worth giving Abacadabras a shot here. While the Gordon Elliot trained horse was disappointing last time out, his form against Shiskin in March’s Supreme puts him right there.

Selection: Abacadabras 8/1 (NB)

3.50 Ladbrokes Hurdle 2m

Another Leopardstwon handicap and the one we’ve gone for here is Gabynako. The Gavin Cromwell runner has form tied in with Bob Olinger who is second-favourite for the Ballymore in March.

The drop in trip to 2m should be no issue and with six and seven places available in some bookmakers, shop around for your each-way bet.

Selection: Gabynako 16/1 ew

4.25 Goffs Future Stars INH Flat Race 2m

Tom Mullins famously let the cat out of the bag with Kilcruit at a Cheltenham Preview Night for his bumper debut at Clonmel in March. Subsequently, he came second but he was very impressive at Navan in December.

Patrick Mullins’ pick out of all these and while there are a lot of unknowns in the field, he is highly rated in the Mullins camp.

A nice Willie Mullins favourite in the bumper to potentially get us out of jail? You can’t beat it.

Selection: Kilcruit 2/1 win

Dublin Racing Festival Day One Selections

1.05 Vanillier 16/1 ew

1.35 Tornado Flyer 25/1 ew or w/o fav

2.10 Franco De Port 10/1 ew (NAP)

2.45 The Shunter 7/1 ew

3.15 Abacadabras 8/1 (NB)

3.50 Gabynako 16/1 ew

4.25 Kilcruit 2/1 win

TV Coverage

All of the Dublin Racing Festival from Leopardstown is live on Racing TV with the first six races also being shown on RTÉ.

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