Cheltenham Festival Day 1
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  • Cheltenham Festival Day 2
  • Cheltenham Festival Day 3
  • Cheltenham Festival Day 4

Dublin Racing Festival: Three to back in the novice events

The impressive Monkfish runs again on Sunday.
The impressive Monkfish runs again on Sunday.

The final day of the Dublin Racing Festival provides us with three very eye-catching, high class Novice events, and Joe Tuffin has taken a look at those lining up and picked his best bets...

Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle

The first Grade 1 event from Sunday’s action provides us with a fascinating event between some of the classiest juvenile’s we’ve seen this season, some of which are in the forefront in the Triumph Hurdle market. The Cheveley Park owned Quilixios has looked a hugely smart type on his two starts in Ireland, winning by a combined 33 lengths as both the 1/2f and 1/16f, and promises to serve it up to this field in what could be a cracker of a race. It's a hike in class for this potential star, but in the absence of French Aseel he's the stand out selection in this field and is expected to make it three from three in Ireland. Other interest comes from Busselton, a French recruit who was a more that respectable three-and-three-quarter lengths behind Zanahiyr in a Grade 2 event last time out, beating both Ha D’or and Saint Sam, who also line up here. All three look smart and worthy of their places in this race, but have already shown they fall short of the mark against the best in this division and may struggle again against the best on offer here. Youmdor is the final one of note, who was expected to make it two wins from two starts over obstacles before falling last time out as the well backed 4/9 favourite. He pulled hard that day but still looked like the win was in the bag before his tumble, though this is a tougher assignment and he’ll have to settle a bit more if he’s to win here.

Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle
Quilixios silk

Quilixios

won

Chanella Pharma Novice Hurdle

Vautour, Nichols Canyon, Samcro to name just a few have won the Chanella Pharma Novice Hurdle in recent years, giving it one of the finest rolls of honours from Novice events at the Dublin Racing Festival. We may witness a future great this time round also, with two of the most highly rated novice hurdlers in training set to do battle in the form of Appreciate It and Ballyadam. The former is the odds-on favourite for the event at the time of writing at a slender 8/11, and he’s worthy of that price too. Given high praise from those connected with him since his racecourse debut back in November 2019, he has continued to step up with every challenge thrown at him and has only suffered one loss - in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival - since his debut. A Grade 1 winner last time out, beating Irascible by nine-lengths who he re-opposes here (and looks to have the beating of once again), he is going to be a tough nut to crack and looks more than capable of adding another top level prize to his already splendid CV. The aforementioned Ballyadam has drawn comparisons to his stablemate Envoi Allen in his short career and looked as if he was starting to establish himself as one of the best in the business before being beaten fair and square into fourth by Appreciate It last time out. His excuses are limited, though his jumping was far from fluent, and it’s tricky to see how he can reverse that form with his highly rated rival, though at 6/1 he could be a very smart and safe each-way bet. Blue Lord is the final one that sits near the top of the market after a fair second to Bob Olinger last time out. He was put up earlier in the week as our ante-post fancy for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs back at two-miles, with a strongly ran race possibly placing him in the frame here. In terms of the best bet, you may need to find one down the market at an each-way price with Appreciate It looking so strong at the top, and the one that gets the nod is the Willie Mullins trained N’golo, who has been a consistent performer over hurdles this season, winning a Grade 3 and finishing only two-lengths behind Ballyadam in Grade 1 company at Fairyhouse. He was beaten seemingly fair and square in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle - Appreciate It’s demolition job victory - but that looked like an uncharacteristic performance from this striking grey and at a price of around 25/1 here, he looks the best bet to steal some each-way money providing he can rediscover that form of a few months ago.

Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle
N'golo silk

N'golo (EW)

lost

Flogas Novice Chase

The race that blew the roof off Leopardstown last season and caused earthquakes throughout Dublin when Faugheen got home to land Grade 1 glory at 12, the Flogas Novice Chase may well be one of the highlights of the day once again as familiar rivals Monkfish and Latest Exhibition are set to go to battle for the third time, after finishing first and second respectively in their previous two clashes - both in Grade 1 company. Monkfish is yet to put a foot wrong over fences and looks at home over these larger obstacles, and that’s reflected in his current price of 4/6, whereas Latest Exhibition is falling into the unfortunate habit of filling the runner up spot more than he’d like, taking the silver medal in three of his last four starts. He’s a smart performer no doubt, but he was put firmly in his place by the favourite over the Christmas period and that can be expected here again. Monkfish was the 1/2f that day, so the 4/6 about him looks a nice price given the fact that you can get a double-figure price about the rest of the field. Of those out the back of the betting, two catch the eye in the form of Andy Dufresne and Asterion Forlonge. The first mentioned is unbeaten in his two starts over fences, one of them being at Grade 3 level, though he’s yet to face anyone of the calibre of the top two and there may be no escaping their grasp, where as the latter has really struggled with his switch to fences, winning only once and falling on his other two starts. He doesn’t quite look at home here and the strong pace that is expected from having two stars in the race could well catch him out once again, even though we all know the talent is certainly there and he could well prove that if he manages to stay upright.

Flogas Novice Chase
Monkfish silk

Monkfish

won
Cheltenham Festival
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