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Dublin Racing Festival Tips: Star quality from beginning to end on an excellent second day

Mark Milligan is back to preview a superb second day of the DRF, where he’s getting creative in a couple of the specials markets…

“For my money, that’s just about the best piece of form on offer in here where challengers to the favourite are concerned, yet Capodanno is only third choice in the betting without market”

The second day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown is full of quality, with established stars such as Honeysuckle and Chacun Pour Soi strutting their stuff, while we also get to see potential future stars such as Galopin Des Champs, Pink In The Park and Sir Gerhard, whose careers are in relative infancy.

Unfortunately, where punting is concerned, every one of those aforementioned horses will be sent off a short price, which makes betting a tricky proposition, for all that it’s a card that will have jumping purists salivating.

In cases like this, we need to get a little creative with our punting, and that’s where the specials markets such as ‘betting without’ etc come into their own.

Capodanno the play without Galopin

Galopin Des Champs is rightly favourite for the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase (13:50), having made a seamless transition from hurdles to fences at the first time of asking over this C&D last month.

He’d previously taken the Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April, where he slammed Gentleman’s Game and Stattler in devastating fashion. I had no real desire to take him on here, but do think there’s some value in the market that the Sportsbook are offering without him.

Galopin Des Champs’ stable companion Capodanno has also been progressing at a rate of knots, and he posted a solid effort when second to Bob Olinger last time, briefly looking to have that rival in trouble before eventually succumbing after the last, beaten just under 5 lengths.

For my money, that’s just about the best piece of form on offer in here where challengers to Galopin Des Champs are concerned, yet Capodanno is only third favourite behind Master McShee and Fury Road in the betting without market.

I’ve got every respect for those two rivals, though it’s worth noting that Master McShee was a good 16 lengths behind Bob Olinger at Gowran in November, while Fury Road had already been beaten a couple of times over fences before taking the Neville Hotels at this track last time.

The first-time cheekpieces were clearly a help to Fury Road there, enabling to match the pick of his hurdles form over fences, though there’s no guarantee they’ll be quite so effective second time around.

Chacun tough to beat in his own backyard

The following Grade 1 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (13:50) makes very little appeal from a punting point of view. Chacun Pour Soi is nigh on unbeatable on Irish soil and will likely record yet another win at the top level.

It really is difficult to oppose this one, even though he’s into the veteran stage now, particularly as his main rival Greaneateen hails from a Paul Nicholls yard that is a touch on the quiet side at the moment.

Captain Guinness is the only other runner that can realistically be thrown into the mix, though even a slightly below-par Greaneateen should have enough in his locker to finish second to the short-priced favourite, albeit there’s no real value in any of the specials markets where this one is concerned.

Echoes can chase home the mighty Honeysuckle

What more can be said about Honeysuckle that hasn’t already been said?

She’s just a superstar mare and there’s every chance she’ll continue on her merry way and land the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (15:00) for the third successive year.

Still only an 8-y-o, she should be at her peak right now and that’s a scary prospect for any of her four rivals in this contest. It basically looks a race for minor honours only, but with such a small field, again it’s tricky to identify any value in the ancillary markets.

That said, I’m going to take chance on Echoes In Rain in the betting without Honeysuckle market. Granted she’s got little chance of finishing ahead of Zanahiyr and Saint Roi on their running behind Sharjah in the Matheson here last time, but she travelled through that race much more kindly than she had done previously, for all her finishing effort left a bit to be desired.

I wasn’t convinced before then that she was really up to mixing it at Grade 1 level, though there was enough in that effort to suggest to me that she is.

I’m hoping the application of a first-time tongue tie here can coax a bit more improvement out of a mare who has always been held in quite high regard at Closutton.

If Paul Townend can get her to settle off the pace and not mix it with the big guns until really necessary, I can see her coming through to grab a place late on, and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that she could take the runner-up spot.

A couple of potential top-notchers close out the card

The Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle (15:35) should really go the way of Sir Gerhard, who was most impressive on his hurdling debut over this C&D on Boxing Day, coming home 8 lengths to the good of Highland Charge.

He jumped well that day and sauntered clear in the manner of one destined for much bigger things. I suspect he’ll lay down a big marker in the novice hurdling division here, while having the option of the Supreme or the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival next month.

I had no real desire to get involved in the Grade 2 bumper (16:40) that closes the card, though it will be fascinating to here how Pink In The Park gets on following her very impressive debut at Listowel in September.

The Willie Mullins stable is absolutely overflowing with talent in the bumper sphere and this mare could be right up there with the best he’s run so far. However, who knows what else may be lying in wait in a race full of unexposed sorts, eight of which also won first time up.

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