Saturday Racing Tips: Three Bets For Day 1 Of The Dublin Racing Festival
There's a stunning seven-race card on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, and our man Steve Chambers has picked out three eye-catching bets for what is set to be a phenomenal day's racing on Saturday afternoon...
13:05 Leopardstown - Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors '50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff' Novice Hurdle
A field of eight will line up for the opening Grade 1 of the two-day extravaganza, and this contest could provide notable clues to next month's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Gordon Elliott's Hollow Games is a prominent figure in the betting, but he was well beaten by Ginto in the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle last time out, so he can be taken on here.
Willie Mullins unleashes a three-pronged attack and the premier contender from the Closutton team is likely to be Whatdeawant, but in a wide open renewal it could be worth taking a chance on huge outsider FREEDOM TO DREAM, who could be open to significant improvement. Last seen being beaten by another of Saturday's rivals Eric Bloodaxe at Limerick, Peter Fahey's Freedom To Dream coasted to the head of affairs before tiring in the closing stages.
That came in really heavy ground, so providing conditions are a little better at the weekend then he could well give a notable account of himself. He will have to improve to down Eric Bloodaxe, but he showed great bumper form back in 2019 when second to Appreciate It, and with only four runs on his CV then he is likely to continue his improvement. The step up in trip should bring out some improvement as well for this event, and at huge odds he looks a decent each-way shout.
Freedom To Dream (EW)
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13:35 Leopardstown - Racing TV '12 Per Month This Weekend Only' Juvenile Hurdle
Quilixios used victory in this race 12 months ago as a springboard to Triumph Hurdle glory, and there are some hugely exciting juveniles lining up in the 2022 renewal and it's the Willie Mullins-trained Vauban and Gordon Elliott's Fil Dor that dominate the betting for this four-year-old feature.
Once raced under the stewardship of Willie Mullins, Vauban's second behind Pied Piper at Punchestown was given a huge boost last weekend at Cheltenham when Pied Piper romped to glory at Prestbury Park and catapulted to ante-post favourite for the Triumph Hurdle. Now, looking to build on that Irish debut, he will have to deal with a proven top class youngster in the shape of Fil Dor, who has done nothing wrong over hurdles and looks the more solid punting prospect here.
FIL DOR has won all three races this season for the Elliott team, and he was last seen impressing in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle, and following that event he was made a short-priced jolly for the Triumph Hurdle. Having eased following Pied Piper's win, Fil Dor will be looking to get back to the summit, and if he can continue on an upward curve this weekend then he can duly rocket to a fourth win on the bounce and swiftly become Elliott's number one four-year-old again.
14:10 Leopardstown - Patrick Ward & Co Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase
The betting for the Arkle Challenge Trophy next month was blown wide open following the news Ferny Hollow will not take his chance for Willie Mullins, so Saturday's Grade 1 Irish Arkle Novice Chase at 14:10 could see the winner launch to the head of the Arkle betting.
Mullins has trained four of the last seven winners of the Irish Arkle, and he will unleash a three-pronged attack at Saturday's contest and the team will be spearheaded by Blue Lord, who is the 13/8 market leader for Saturday's contest. Two wins out of two over fences have launched him to the head of the Arkle betting next month, but in HAUT EN COULEURS he will have a stablemate that possesses huge potential and could be the value play around the 7/2-4/1 mark. Third in last year's Triumph Hurdle, Haut En Couleurs has only raced once over fences, but he was an extremely eye-catching five-and-a-half length winner over Gentleman Du Mee at Leopardstown, and he shaped like there's a lot more to come.
Gordon Elliott's Riviere D'etel lost to Ferny Hollow last time out, but has shown some real talent over fences, so he has to be respected, but in Haut En Couleurs Mullins has a horse full of potential and he can rocket to the head of the Arkle betting with a win in the Irish equivalent this weekend.