WE HAD a brilliant finale at Cheltenham last week with Remiluc bolting up at 20/1 in the lucky last. He is a horse I've had on my radar for a couple of years and it was fantastic to get that big priced win from him.
This Saturday is an absolute treat. Not only are there nice cards at Sandown and Wetherby but its the first day of the new Dublin Racing Festival. Leopardstown is an absolute treat to visit being relatively close to Dublin city centre with great transport links and almost continuous top quality racing on the flat and over jumps all year round. Any time I have visited I have been surprised at the relatively small crowds in comparison to UK racecourses, particularly with the quality of racing on offer and that makes it easy to get in and to move around. It deserves a festival like this and I am convinced that it will grow in popularity over the next few years. A great addition to the racing calendar.
Anyway, enough of the emotional nonsense and onto the business of tipping winners.
There are quite a few that I fancy again this week although no absolute stand outs in terms of value bets.
The first one that I fancy is CYRNAME in the Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown where his main opponent is Terrefort, a french import for Nicky Henderson who looks the part but has so much to prove at this stage. We have seen Cyrname several times and he looked to me like he was desperate for a return to this sort of trip when he was second at the start of December at Newbury. He subsequently won at Kempton but this step up in trip will almost certainly bring more improvement and that makes him the value bet for me.
Kalondra is an old friend who may have more improvement to come but his price is too short for me by comparison. West Approach and No Comment make up the rest of the field and are both talented but the value bet is Cyrname in my view.
This is a massively competitive handicap hurdle so you can't be hugely confident about any selection but to me it looks like BUYWISE is great value for a horse who finally remembered how to win last time out and is running off a 12lb lower handicap mark over hurdles than fences.
You can see exactly what Evan Williams and the owners are thinking here taking a punt at this race because if he can reproduce the same form over hurdles they are absolutely laughing given his performance a few weeks back. I was surprised to see the big prices on offer and he must be worth an each way punt.
As well as the top class Grade 1 action there are also some valuable handicaps on the card at Leopardstown including this one run just over 2 miles with 20 runners going to post. Some bookies are offering extra places so take advantage of that if you can.
The one that I like is BEL AMI DES PICTONS who hasn't won a chase yet but came within a head of doing so on Boxing Day and looks like a horse with plenty of improvement in him. With a bit of luck in running I can see him fighting out the finish.
A second competitive handicap run over 2 miles but this time it is run on the hurdles course and there are 29 runners due to take their chance. Again, lots of luck in running will be required and I am going with the Sean Flanagan and Noel Meade jockey/trainer combo again, this time with ICE COLD SOUL who won the race last year.
He has been tried chasing since then and it hasn't gone particularly well but back over hurdles now with a handicap mark just 4lb higher than when he won last year I can see him outrunning his big odds.
- 2.25 Sandown – Cryname – 3pt win at 3/1 with Paddy Power and Bet365
- 3.00 Sandown – Buywise – 2pt each way at 20/1 with Bet365
- 2.55 Leopardstown – Bel Ami De Sivola – 2pt each way at 10/1 with Coral, Ladbrokes (all paying 5 places)
- 4.05 – Leopardstown – Ice Cold Soul – 1pt each way at 25/1 with SkyBet (paying 6 places each way)