The second day of the Dublin Racing Festival features some stars of the national hunt game, and Kevin Blake has two each-way tips for you to consider…
“I felt there was an awful lot to like about his return to action in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.”
Day two of the Dublin Racing Festival promises to deliver a feast of top-class racing action, showcasing many of Ireland’s best horses and most exciting up-and-coming prospects.
I could quite happily rabbit on about each and every race on the card (you can listen to the Racing Only Bettor Podcast for even more extensive coverage of the meeting), but in this space I will as always attempt to distil my views down to only the strongest selections of the day.
Odds-on jolly worth taking on with a bit of Fury
On a day that will showcase a number of very exciting rising stars of the game, the Ladbrokes Novice Chase (13:20) will see the first of them look to strut his stuff in the shape of Galopin Des Champs.
Look, we get it, he’s a Grade 1-wining novice hurdler that made an excellent start to his chasing career at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, but I can’t help but feel that the hype about him since then has been a bit over the top.
Regular readers will know that I love to pick at minor faults in performances, but in fairness, there wasn’t much to pick at from his chasing debut at Leopardstown. Perversely, the fact that there isn’t really anything to pick at might well be the thing to pick at! It was too perfect. At no stage did Galopin Des Champs meet a fence wrong and need to be clever to get out of trouble.
While it is clearly impressive that he met every fence on the right stride, he was doing so while getting a solo in front. There is a big jump from a maiden chase to a proper Grade 1 novice chase such as this with three previous Grade 1 winners in it and he seems unlikely to get a solo run again.
The one I like against him is one of the three Grade 1-winning novice chasers in the race, the Gordon Elliott-trained Fury Road.
He was a high-class hurdler and made it third-time lucky over fences when responding very well to first-time cheekpieces to win the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown. On that occasion he easily saw off the 159-rated Run Wild Fred and that represents very strong form.
Dropping back in trip shouldn’t be any issue for him and he looks a very appealing proposition against the favourite in a race that will pay three places.
Plenty of ways to get with Saint
The other race of interest is the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (15:00).
Honeysuckle is obviously the focus point here and will clearly be very difficult to beat, but I feel like I have to put up the Willie Mullins-trained Saint Roi.
The seven-year-old has arguably promised more than he has delivered since bursting onto the scene with an impressive victory in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, but I felt there was an awful lot to like about his return to action in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.
Rachael Blackmore’s plan to find a slot in behind the leaders went out the window at the first flight when Felix Desjy slammed on the brakes in front and Saint Roi jumped to the lead. Racing freely, he was harried all the way by the pace-making Petit Mouchoir and did well to hang in there for as long as he did until fading on the run-in. He is capable of better than he showed there and he might just outrun his price.
I will put Saint Roi up both each-way, but there will be a multitude of options for those that fancy him including place only and backing him without the favourite.
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