The 2023 Dublin Racing Festival is here – and I’ve got a few tips for Saturday’s blockbuster card.
Firstly, I’m eager to take on the favourite Good Land in the G1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at 1.20.
The form of his maiden hurdle win at Leopardstown late last year is hardly inspiring, and I doubt he is a proper Grade One horse. For me, Barry Connell’s seven-year-old is vulnerable in this competitive, nine-runner field.
I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Willie Mullins’ Quais De Paris, who despite looking rather workmanlike in his sole start this season is the first choice of stable jockey Paul Townend. I think he’ll improve bundles for that run, and will relish this 2m6f trip.
However, I’m taking a chance on AMERICAN MIKE bouncing right back to form.
Last season’s Champion Bumper runner-up made a very pleasing start to life over hurdles in early November, but was well-beaten at short odds in G3 company at Navan a few weeks later and hasn’t been seen since.
Funnily enough, that form hasn’t aged too badly, and trainer Gordon Elliott has confirmed his six-year-old wasn’t well that day, and has subsequently given him plenty of time to get over it.
If it wasn’t for that blip, American Mike would likely be favourite for this race, so I’m more than happy to give him another chance at what could be a ridiculously generous price of 13/2. It’s boom or bust for him.
For my other pick on Saturday, I’m being brave (or stupid – time will tell) and taking on another favourite in arguably the most competitive race of the entire meeting – the G1 Irish Arkle at 2.30.
Appreciate It is one of five for Willie Mullins and heads the market at time of writing. The vibes coming out of Closutton about him are extremely bullish, but I think there’s reason to oppose him.
I’m still not sure he’s a genuine two-miler. That may sound ridiculous, given I’m talking about a Supreme winner, but with the benefit of hindsight he was beating modest opposition as a novice hurdler – and I’d go as far as to say he’s only ever been in two ‘proper’ races over the minimum distance… and he’s lost both.
First in the Champion Bumper of 2020, when he was done for toe by stablemate Ferny Hollow, and in last season’s Champion Hurdle when, albeit after a lengthy, injury-ridden lay-off, he found it all too much.
He’s nine now, and I think there’s reason to believe he’s vulnerable in an unbelievably strong G1 field featuring seven rivals who are going to go a serious clip.
The one I expect to be forcing the pace is DYSART DYNAMO, and I believe he won’t be for catching.
The seven-year-old son of Westerner looked electric on his chase debut over course and distance at Christmas. He jumped like a buck, and if he can do so again – and crucially for him, settle – at the pace he’s likely to be going, the likes of Appreciate It and fellow stablemate El Fabiolo will have to be every bit as good as their reputation to win this.
I have the race between those three, with a nod to Dysart Dynamo at 5/2.
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