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Leopardstown Preview

Hi all,

Inside today’s main piece I look ahead to the best of Sunday’s action on ITV4.

It’s the second day of Scottish Cheltenham Trials Weekend at Musselburgh. And ITV4 are covering four races live from the track this afternoon. However, most eyes will be on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

The Musselburgh card is interesting enough for a Sunday fixture but in truth it doesn’t excite me as Leopardstown does.

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ITV are taking four races live from Leopardstown this afternoon.

1:40 – Ladbrokes Novice Chase (Grade 1) – 2m 5f

Four Willie Mullins runners take on favourite Mighty Potter

Mighty Potter had Gaillard Du Mesnil 4 ½ lengths back in second when winning the Grade 1 Drimore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.  The runner-up was conceding race fitness that day. And he’s since gone onto win the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase here over 3m at Christmas.  Interesting to see him dropped back to 3m and taking on Mighty Potter once more.

James Du Berlais made an impressive chase debut when winning a Fairyhouse beginners chase on New Year’s Day. That was his first start for 20 months. He could take a high order in the novice chase division and provided and he’s a big contender.

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2:10 – Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) – 2m 1f

Blue Lord won the Grade 1 over C&D at the Christmas meeting and this looks an even easier race. Its hard to see him being beat in what looks a very weak renewal. Useful handicapper Dunvegan (16/1) was runner-up to Chacun Pour Soi in last year’s race and I think he’s one for forecast players once more. It’s hard to see him beating the long odds on favourite. However, he’s on the same Official Rating as both Gentleman De Mee and Sceau Royal and they are both shorter in the early betting.

It’s no betting race for me. But If you’re looking for a bet in the race Dunvegan each way at the 16/1 with Bet365 could pay dividends. 

2:40 – Bulmers Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) – 2m 5f

Maskada put in a career best effort when beating Rebel Gold in a valuable 2m 3 ½ f handicap chase at Limerick over Christmas.  Up 9lb for that success but that was just the mares third start since joining Henry De Bromhead and there could be more to come from her.

Birchdale won this last year from 2lb lower. He’s not been at that level of form on five subsequent runs and we haven’t seen him since August. Not totally dismissed with Aidan Kelly taking off a handy 7lb.

Besides Birchdale owner J P McManus also has a couple of other contender in Ilikedwayurthinkin and Ciel De Neige. The former isn’t the most consistent of chasers but lurks on good mark based on his hurdle form. Top weight Ciel De Neige is another on a handy mark. He didn’t stay 3m in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase here over Christmas but that was his first start for 8 months and he should be sharper for that run. This is more his sort of trip and I can see him going well.

3:10 – Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m

Just the six go to post but they do include State Man, Vauban and Honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle bids for a fourth win the race but you must wonder if she’s the same mare these days.  We will know by 3:20 if she is. She would have to be at her best to beat State Man who beat Vauban in the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle over C&D at Christmas. The runner-up was conceding race fitness and will improve. When I looked at the race on Wednesday, I was with State Man and I remain with him.

Sunday Selection:

State Man would be a boring selection wouldn’t he and I can’t really go for him at Evens. Instead, I’m going to take on his stablemate Facile Vega in the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle (3:40) with former high class flat performer High Definition who made a winning hurdle debut over C&D over Christmas. He’s capable of more improvement over hurdles and has the flat class to trouble the odds on favourite.


3:40 – High Definition – 13/2



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