AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Leopardstown Friday

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]oday’s card at Leopardstown is a mixture of the fiendishly competitive (see the opener and penultimate) and the lopsided. There are four races with short ones for bookmakers to get beaten and the card is concluded by a tricky looking small field bumper where it looks like any three of the five could win.

Add to the mix that there has been rain overnight changing the ground to soft on the hurdles course and we could see a few shocks.

Of the hotpots, all eyes will be on Faugheen in the Ryanair Hurdle. It does look like a penalty kick on the road to more Cheltenham glory but the form book is littered with vanquished good things. Most people will take a watching brief but those willing to lump on in an attempt to buy money at around 1/5 will surely be accommodated.

Likely market rival and the one most likely to benefit should the ‘machine’ disappoint is stablemate Cilaos Emery who could be running as bit of ‘insurance’ for the Mullins yard.

Of the competitive races the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase looks an absolute form book nightmare, there are so many that could win – reflected in the betting at around 11/2 the field. There’s as much potential for a skinner as there is a touch, the punters will make the layers’ books and they’ll just hope for the best.

Our brand ambassador Davy Russell has written a blog on his four mounts today and can be found here His concluding ride is in the 3.05pm, the Top Oil Irish EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle. He is riding likely favourite Mind’s Eye but this previewer is deserting him and taking a chance with Agent Boru from the Thomas Gibney yard.

The six-year-old gelding is a maiden under rules after nine starts but ran on really well after getting caught for toe over 2m at Fairyhouse last time out in early December, eventually finishing a close-up 5th from 2lb out of the handicap. Today’s extra half mile step up in trip could see the improvement needed. Stamina is not in doubt having previously won a point to point over three miles. Jockey Patrick Corbett takes 3lb off and is fresh from riding a winner at Limerick yesterday.

A modest each-way bet could be the call in what is a very tricky heat.

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