It’s a huge weekend of horseracing out in Ireland for the Dublin Racing Festival with a number of star names on show. Sadly it does mean many of the races are best watched rather than punted in with many odds-on; unless you fancy a jolly multiple. ITV Racing has a bumper ten-race programme on Saturday with a couple from the DRF being screened as well as Musselburgh and Sandown Park
Best bets for the horseracing Leopardstown
Tipped when wining the G.3 Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown in December, completing a hat-trick, I am on Jetara again today for the 2m6f Grade One Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at 1.20. She clearly likes getting her toe-in so the soft going out in Ireland is fine and getting 7lb as she does from the others she is very interesting here with potentially more to come from her yet. I have the 9-4. Predators Gold is very much feared.
I have already backed Highwind (each-way NRNB) for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival so I am very hopeful of a big run in the 2m Grade One Mccann Fitzgerald Spring Juvenile Hurdle at 1.50. Stablemate Storm Heart is the jolly and the ride of Paul Townend but Rachael Blackmore in the saddle is hardly a negative. Hopefully he will have learnt to pick his hooves up since his win at Punchestown where he kicked just about every hurdle out the ground. I think, if he gets his jumping right, he is far better than the bare form of his two-and-three-quarter length hurdle debut victory suggests and I am on him for this at the 8-1 and hoping he’ll be a lot shorter in the Triumph market by two-o’clock.
Best bets for the horseracing at Sandown Park
The 2m4f Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Novices' Handicap Hurdle at 1.25 is the first race of interest to me over in Esher. I think an opening mark of 124 may under rate Jingko Blue. Second on debut in November he won a 12-runner novice hurdle at Newbury last time showing a good attitude to get up in a battle with the more experienced Masaccio; now rated 129. I think Henderson can get a fair bit more out of the five-year-old over the coming months and I have a bit of the 100-30 early about him for this. Onethreefivenotout appears the danger, there's been money for him overnight, but I noted Paul Nicholls saying “He's fragile, not easy to train” in his column “and it's been an achievement to get three runs into him this season.” that concerns me.
The 2m4f Grade One Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices' Chase is the race of the day here in the UK with Triple G favourite Hermes Allen lining-up. Last seen chasing home the ridiculously impressive Il Est Francais at Kempton in the three-mile G.1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase on Boxing Day there’s nothing in here like the French five-year-old. The drop back down in trip is of no concern with it being a pretty testing two-and-a-half miles round here. Paul Nicholls said in his Betfair column “I'm sure a stiff two and a half miles will suit him well. There should be plenty of pace which will be in the favour Of Hermes Allen who worked pleasingly on Thursday morning.” I am on at the 4-5 that is available.
ITV Racing is back on Sunday with races from Leopardstown and Musselburgh including State Man in the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle and El Fabiolo in the Dublin Chase - both long odds-on already. Daughter of the great Quevega, and full-sister of Facile Vega, Aurora Vega goes in the Bumper on Sunday and is of interest; I read a fascinating interview with her owner/breeder Ger O'Brien in the Racing Post Bloodstock Review recently. The Hammer & Trowel Syndicate of O'Brien and Sean Deane would love for this mare to be able to continue the family line in time I have no doubt, and I think she can take this. I have 7-4 about her doing so.