DAVY RUSSELL: Dublin Racing Festival Saturday

We are set for the most fantastic two days of racing at Leopardstown for the Dublin Racing Festival. There has been plenty of talk in the build-up about the ground and hopefully with a bit of rain in the air along with some watering, we will have some nice safe ground. That’s all we ask for at this time of year with the big English Spring Festivals on the horizon. It’s important that we don’t jar up these good horses with long seasons ahead for them. Anyway, I’ve got some really nice rides to look forward to…

SATURDAY

LEOPARDSTOWN

FURY ROAD (12.50pm – Nathaniel & Lacy Novice Hurdle)

The first of four Grade One races on the opening day and I ride Fury Road for Gordon (Elliott) and Gigginstown. He’s done nothing wrong winning all three of his hurdle starts to date, but this is a big step up in class. The likes of Latest Exhibition and Elixir D’Ainay make this a really good test and you cannot rule out Longhouse Poet either with this step up in trip likely to suit him too. We do like our fella though and I’m hoping he will put up a bold show.

ORDINARY WORLD (1.25pm – Dublin Chase)

A really good renewal of the Dublin Chase where I ride Ordinary World who was a good third to A Plus Tard and Chacun Pour Soi here at Christmas. He is sure to run his usual solid race but is very much in at the deep end in what looks a really good race. The two horses who finished in front of us the last day are likely to improve again for that – particularly Chacun Pour Soi. But, don’t rule out Min who bids for a hat-trick in the race and I’m sure Cilaos Emery will have a say in the finish too. It looks a race to savour.

2.00pm – Irish Arkle

No ride for me in the Irish Arkle where we get to see the rematch between Notebook and Fakir D’Oudairies from Christmas. There shouldn’t be much between the pair this time and I’ve got a sneaky feeing that Joseph’s (O’Brien) horse (Fakir D’Oudairies) may just turn that form around in a better race like this. Willie Mullins runs a strong team with the likes of Melon, Bapaume and Cash Back all likely to make their presence felt.

PALOMA BLUE (2.35pm)

I’m looking forward to getting back aboard Paloma Blue for Henry De Bromhead (pair pictured) in the valuable two mile handicap chase. He didn’t quite see it out at Ascot the last day so this drop back in trip and better ground will definitely help. It will be no easy task off this big weight though and there are plenty of dangers lurking beneath us in the weights. Gordon’s Éclair De Beaufeu warrants plenty of respect as does Snugsborough Hall who will strip fitter for his reappearance and will like the drop in trip.

PETIT MOUCHOIR (3.10pm – Irish Champion Hurdle)

The big race of the day where all eyes will be on the mare Honeysuckle when she takes on the geldings over two miles. She gets a handy 7lbs but doesn’t yet have the form in the book against the boys over this trip and I think Sharjah remains the one to beat. He goes particularly well here and looked top class when beating my mount Petit Mouchoir here at Christmas. We’ll obviously give it our best shot to turn that form around, but it looks a tall order.

SIRE DU BERLAIS (3.45pm – Ladbrokes Hurdle)

Another fiercely competitive handicap, this time over hurdles. I ride the topweight Sire Du Berlais who drops back dramatically in trip having run well at Warwick last time. He’s pretty versatile when it comes to distance and has run well at the track before. It will be some effort to win this off such a high mark with a host of well-handicapped unexposed horses lurking below us. Willie’s (Mullins) horse Unexcepted looks the obvious one to beat.

4.20pm – Bumper

The last race of the day is the Grade Two bumper with Joseph’s Eric Bloodaxe looking the most likely winner after his performance here at Christmas. However, he has to carry a penalty and don’t be surprised to see Gordon’s Wide Receiver, who was second to him the last day, give him more of a race on these revised terms.

Good Luck
DAVY


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