We are just over five weeks away from the Cheltenham Festival and all eyes both in the UK and Ireland are beginning to turn to the four day extravaganza next month, which means there is some wonderful racing action this weekend.
There are decent cards at both Leopardstown over in Ireland where the Dublin Racing Festival takes place while Sandown has a decent card as well. We’ve gone through both cards and picked out bets at both meetings.
We have some cracking horses on show for the Dublin Racing Festival but the only race worth getting stuck into is the 3 mile handicap hurdle on the card where a massive field of 24 head to the start. There are 7 places on offer so going double handed seems to be the way to go.
A Great View is a horse I cannot leave unbacked. He may be hard to win with but form figures this season of 3rd of 18, 2nd of 23 and 4th of 27 are enough to tempt me, all off marks within 2lbs of what he carries today. Admittedly he is winless since 2018 but that was in a big field handicap off a mark of 131 & he’s 6lbs lower today. At this trip the last twice, he was 2nd at Navan behind Commander Of Fleet staying on well under today’s jockey, finishing in front of a few of today’s opposition. That saw him sent off a 6/1 favourite last time out where he finished 4th having got too far back. He and the 5th horse home, Dunboyne, are the 2 to take from the race & the latter named is the current favourite for this at 6/1 despite reopposing on the same terms. A return to slightly better ground will suit as well as O’Regan taking the ride back. Sure to run his race, he will land one of these soon enough & I’m hoping today is the day.
At a longer price, Ballywilliam Boy has an excellent chance of getting in the mix here. This relatively lightly raced 7 year old has put up some good performances in novice company before moving into handicaps for his last 2 runs. Over 3 miles two starts ago, he was 3rd of 23 in the Commander Of Fleet race finishing just behind A Great View & he is now 2lbs better off for just over 4 lengths. He absolutely flattened the last that day & may have given the winner something to think about had he jumped it better. In the end, it was a super run & one to build on but he failed to shine last time out when 11th in a similar race to this when he was sent off as 4/1 favourite. The trip was surely to blame for that below par run & stepped back up again to 3 miles, he is taken to make amends here. Whilst he needs to improve again, I fully expect him to be in the shake up & at 25/1 paying 7 places, he’s a sound each way bet.
Back A Great View (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 12.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-7)
Back Ballywilliam Boy (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 26.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-7)
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A cracking Grade 3 handicap hurdle over a trip just shy of 3 miles sees a maximum field of 18 where it’s 6/1 the field with a number of improving horses in the field. It’s not a race to be taking a short price so we’re taking 2 against the field at big prices. The first of those is Dan Skelton’s Padleyourowncanoe who is having just his 3rd run for the yard after moving from the Colin Tizzard yard. After well over a year off the track, this 8 year old ran a cracker in a handicap hurdle at Haydock, finishing just over 5 lengths behind Jesuitique who he reopposes off 10lb better terms. That was a race full of promise as he travelled really well before being asked for his effort 3 furlongs out when the winner was already clear by somewhere close the winning distance. Surely he would have needed the run so to finish as close as he did & the way he stayed on all the way to the line is a good sign. He gets in here off the same mark. His next & last run was over fences where he was pulled up after clouting a fence early doors but back over hurdles he can be a threat to all. The yard is in good form and with 7 places on offer, he looks worthy of an each way bet.
The second of our bets is Flemcara at an even bigger price. He’s a 10 year old that typically runs his race having won 6 times over the smaller obstacles & a further 5 placed efforts from 22 starts. He is 6lbs above his highest winning mark but it’s a positive sign that he was just a head 2nd 2 starts ago off just 2lbs lower than today’s mark. He was behind one of today’s rivals Dolphin Square that day & is now 8lbs better off. Last time up, he was 6 lengths behind Orbys Legend, another to reoppose today, and again the selection is better off at the weights, 6lbs this time. Another whose yard is in form with 3 winners from its last 5 runners, this front runner could get an easy time up front & if he does, he could prove a tough horse to pass. 28/1 is far too big a price in an open contest.
Back Padleyourowncanoe (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 21.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-7)
Back Flemcara (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 34.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
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