Dublin Racing Festival Saturday – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

So, it’s my first Dublin Racing Festival as a retired jockey and I’m so busy I haven’t really given not riding there a thought writes DAVY RUSSELL. My plan is to nip there for a bit on Saturday, but things are obviously a bit manic at the moment with all the dancing!

On that note, last Sunday went great and I picked up a few more points. It was ‘Movie Week’ and we had a Star Wars thing going on. It was a great craic and the kids loved it again. Edelle managed to bring them in for the dress rehearsals on Saturday and they had a magic time. To be honest their reaction to it all has made it all so worthwhile… they cannot get enough of it. There’s talk of very little else in our household.

PICTURE: DANCING WITH THE STARS – follow it on Sunday on RTE

…. anyway, there are two incredible days of racing to look forward to in Leopardstown…



1.20pm Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 6 1/2f

The first of the Grade One action with only six runners in the opener, four of which are trained by Willie (Mullins). There’s been plenty of talk about Predators Gold leading up to this and there’s no doubt he’s a lovely horse. He’s not done that much yet mind and was well beaten by Caldwell Potter the last day. Sure the step up in trip will help, but he’s plenty short enough. I prefer the chances of the mare JETARA (pictured below). She’s done loads and will stay well. Her experience will help her and she gets a handy 7lbs from this lot too. Gordon saddles Stellar Story who wears pieces for the first time. He’ll run his race.

1.50pm McCann FitzGerald Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Willie saddles six of the 11 here headed by Storm Heart who ran out a hell of a good winner in Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. Visually it was a brilliant performance, you just have to question what he actually beat. Once again I prefer the two fillies in KALA CONTI and Kargese. They filled the first two spots here on St Stephen’s Day and it would be no surprise if they did the same again. Kargese gets a 3lbs swing at the weights but I’m not sure she will reverse the form with Kala Conti.

2.25pm Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m 1f

It’s a shame we are not going to get to see the matchup between MARINE NATIONALE (pictured below) and Gaelic Warrior that had looked on the cards earlier in the week. That leaves the way for Marine Nationale to maintain his unbeaten record and make it two from two over fences. He was good here the last day and should be too good for these.

3.00pm Race And Stay At Leopardstown Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 3m 1/2f

A typical trappy looking handicap hurdle where you can make a case out for at least half a dozen. Fine Margin will be a warm order but I prefer a few at much bigger prices. My shortlist is headed by SHANBALLY KID who is really interesting off this mark switched back to hurdles at a decent price. Jack rides Will Do who would be next on my list returning to a better surface. Finally, at a monster price don’t rule out Black Bamboo who is a fair horse. He’s better than he has shown and the first-time hood may spark an improvement.

3.35pm Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1/2f

You may think I’ve gone mad, but I reckon it’s worth taking on Galopin Des Champs with his nemesis FASTORSLOW. I finished fourth behind the latter in Cheltenham last year and he’s a smart horse alright. He’s beaten the favourite the last two times they have met and is a big price to make it a hat-trick. Galopin Des Champs is obviously a proper horse, but this won’t be the winter ground he relishes and he may just be vulnerable.

4.10pm Ryanair Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 1f

Gordon fires three bullets at the two mile handicap chase but they may have their work cut out. Madara was really good in Cheltenham the last day, while you couldn’t rule out either Solness or The Folkes Tiara who both won last time. However, I like PATH D’OROUX who took a nasty fall two starts back but looks over that with a run under his belt since. He looks the one.

4.40pm Donohue Marquees Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m

The final race on the day sees A DREAM TO SHARE back to defend his crown in the Future Stars bumper. Well, he proved himself a star last year winning the two Grade One bumpers in both Cheltenham (pictured below) and Punchestown. Remarkably, he’s no penalty to carry here and starts his season in this race after I guess a series of hold-ups. If he’s anywhere near last year’s form he’ll take a fair bit of whacking.

Good Luck




Author: Eugene Morris