AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

DAVY RUSSELL blog: Weekend Preview / DRF Review

I took a bit of a kicking in the handicap hurdle at the end of last week’s Dublin Racing Festival and bruised a few ribs in the process, so I’ve been on the easy list. To be honest, I was after being banned on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week, so it helped having a few days off at home to recuperate. Anyway, I’ve just the one ride this weekend on American Mike so I can give my body plenty of time to recover. My thoughts on his chances, plus the racing at Newbury on Saturday are all below. I’ve also got some thoughts looking back on what was a great Dublin Racing Festival…


AMERICAN MIKE 2.10pm (Listed Novice Hurdle)

As I said above, American Mike (pictured below) is my only ride of the weekend. Listen, he wasn’t able to run last weekend, so this is our only real chance of getting a run into him before Cheltenham. He was disappointing here the last day but was mighty sick after and it’s taken a fair time to get him back. It’s not ideal running over two miles, but its lovely to have him back and we’d be hoping he finishes off his race nicely. This will be a tough test with some useful two milers up against us. ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MARKET

2.40pm Navan (Boyne Hurdle– Grade 2)

Gordon runs three in this and it will be fascinating to see how they get on. Delta Work ran a lovely race in Cheltenham over the Cross Country the last day and this should put him spot on for a return to that race next month. He’s after using this race for Tiger Roll and the timings are spot on. We know how good Sire Du Berlais is on his day but he’s yet to fire on the track yet this season. He’ll bounce back soon enough. Grand Roi is another who’s been a little disappointing of late. I’d say Blazing Khal is the one to beat on his comeback for Charles Byrnes. He’s a talented young horse with a bright future. ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MARKET


3.00pm Newbury (Game Spirit Chase)

I suppose you can make a case for last year’s winner Funambule Sivola ? but it would be a big surprise to me if Greaneteen ? wasn’t to win this. On ratings he is a fair way in front of these and has been in grand form this season. ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MARKET

3.35pm Newbury (Betfair Hurdle)

A really competitive renewal where novices have a great record in recent years. Filey Bay ? is the obvious one and Emmett Mullins has done a grand job with him. The race is a good deal more competitive than it looked it might be at the beginning of the week. Icare Allen ? was fourth in the Triumph in Cheltenham last year and he won’t be far away. I’ve also a sneaky feeling for Deere Mark ? for Sam Thomas. He’s a good operator and I’d say this has been the plan for a while for one who is improving. ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MARKET

Dublin Racing Festival

The highlight of the weekend for me on a personal note was obviously Mighty Potter’s (pictured below) success in the Grade One Novice Chase on Sunday. I cannot tell you the difference in him now from the fella that won in Down Royal last November. He has just grown up so much and he did exactly what he was supposed to do. The trip suited him down to the ground and he jumped great.

Looking at the rest of the meeting and I was really taken by Good Land in the opening Nathaniel Lacy as he got the job done despite over racing early. Only the smart ones do that and he’s a seven-year-old, so all that patience is paying off.

Lossiemouth was obviously very unlucky in the Spring Juvenile as the race unfolded against her. She just got shuffled back at the wrong time – that’s just racing, and Paul got stuck in a pocket. They are two smart fillies Willie has there mind. Gala Marceau ran straight and true to the line.

We went some pace in the Irish Arkle where El Fabiolo seemed best suited by that. His form looks smart now with Jonbon in Aintree last season. You might just get a different result in Cheltenham if they go sensible early.

I was third to Galopin Des Champs aboard Fury Road in the Irish Gold Cup (pictured below), but I’m not sure we learnt a lot though. The winner saw the trip out well to be fair to him, while the runner-up needs a bit further.

On Sunday, Gentleman De Mee did what he always threatened he could do in the Dublin Chase while Blue Lord disappointed. I got a real buzz out of The Goffer who won the Leopardstown Handicap Chase. I asked him for everything the whole way round and he just kept giving. I enjoyed that.

State Man got a nice easy one up front in the Irish Champion Hurdle and did it easy in the end. He’ll have to step up on that to trouble Constitution Hill but is going the right way alright.

Then, we had a strange one in the Grade One Novice Hurdle with Facile Vega fluffing his lines. Here’s another one run at a furious gallop. I like the first three home. Il Etait Temps seems to be getting better with every start and is as smart a young novice as there is. I guess it’s back to the drawing boards with Facile Vega.

Good Luck



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