The Dublin Racing Festival takes place this weekend with some big names running over at Leopardstown with the Irish Gold Cup the main event. It's another of those days, especially over the Jumps, with a few very short-priced ones running putting the final touches on their Festival preparations; L'Homme Presse being a good example in the G.1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown. I tipped him when he won at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and he is very much on my shortlist for the Festival next month with the aim probably the G.1 Turners Novices' Chase. If he wins this well that will surely be the race he goes for even though Bob Olinger will be waiting and is already odds-on. I have decided to take the 8-1 each-way for the Turners Novices' Chase next month as I am confident he can win on Saturday and the old Bookies won’t be offering any bigger than about 5’s for the Festival after he does! Also down at Esher the likes of Easyland and Goshen will be fine tuning with the big meeting in mind. I am having four bets on Saturday, all on the All-Weather.
Best bets for the horse racing at Lingfield Park
The main race at Lingfield on Saturday is the Listed 1m2f Betway Winter Derby Trial Stakes at 3.25. Harrovian was the one I wanted to back going through the entries for this but he won’t line-up. Fancy Man is top rated officially undertaking a winter campaign on the All-Weather for the first time; he won over 1m4f here in September at long odds-on. He clearly has a chance but being drawn in stall six of six and with Living Legend drawn directly on his inside in five they may get in each other's way a bit early doors tussling for the lead; Rose Of Kildare won’t be hanging about early either. Al Zaraqaan is looking to continue his unbeaten run on the all-weather being four from four, including a track and trip victory in 2020. Previously owned by Shadwell Estates the gelding was purchased by Hambleton Racing early this year and made his debut for new trainer Archie Watson when winning the 1m2f Betway Conditions Stakes, an All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier, at Newcastle last month. Simon Turner, director of racing for owners Hambleton Racing said earlier this week “He’s unbeaten so far on the all-weather and though we’ve only had him for the one start, he couldn’t have done any more. He beat a couple of race-fit rivals quite decisively and he looks fully entitled to take his chance on Saturday. He’s a recent acquisition and is already in stakes company for us which is fantastic.” The aim is the Group Three Winter Derby and then on to All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle over Easter, he needs to win this if he is to fulfil those engagements. Drawn in one Hollie Doyle can settle him nicely behind the early pace and I think he can swoop down the home stretch to take this. I am on at 2-1.
The Listed 6f Betway Kachy Stakes at 4.00 is an All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier. Happy Romance jumped off the page at me earlier this week in the entries but annoyingly is another that won’t be at the Surrey track this weekend. Winner of the Listed Golden Rose Stakes twice over this track and trip Good Effort is the obvious place to start here though the seven-year-old has to give them all weight under the race conditions. He is actually unbeaten at this track, has also won the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes over C&D and a 5f event, and a bold bid from stall one can be expected. I have a bit of the 7-4. Lord Of The Lodge won’t be hanging about at the stalls either but is perhaps better over seven; if they get into a real battle up front, they may set it up for Roohan to swoop late. The four-year-old went from being rated 55 in December 2020 to running ion Group Ones by the end or 2021, won the G.2 Sandy Lane Stakes, but he’ll need some luck in running here.
Later on the card we have the 1m2f Betway Casino Handicap at 4.35. Largo Bay has been knocking on the door recently and certainly deserves to get his head in front sooner rather than later. His one career win came over track and trip and he always seems to run well here. George Rooke takes off 3lb from his mark of 60 and the chestnut gelding can hopefully slot in behind likely leader Union Leader early and nick a well-deserved victory here. He is worth a punt at 8-1
Best bet for the horse racing at Kempton Park
The 5.55 at Kempton is the 1m4f Try Our New Super Boosts At Unibet Novice Stakes and Charlie Appleby has two entered worth a look. I talked of the chestnut Nahanni when he made debut over this track and trip saying I would be watching to see how he went; as a son of Frankel out of Final Stage who won over 1m4f in her career, there are certainly some big names in his pedigree. That was a very nice first effort behind stable mate Wild Crusade, I tipped the winner, and with the benefit of that experience he looks to have a great opportunity to get off the mark at the second attempt here. Get on at 4-5 its very short but he looks a banker. Thundersquall is definitely one to watch being by Dubawi out of Irish 1,000 Guineas and Yorkshire Oaks winner Pleascach. This looks a fairly warn race on paper and might be a big ask to win on debut but I will certainly be keeping an eye on this one. Mhajim for team Gosden in the Al Shaqab Racing colours is another nicely bred one and should improve for his debut fourth.Be lucky