Three Dublin Racing Festival runners who could shake up the Cheltenham Festival markets
This weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival will teach us plenty about what to expect at Cheltenham next month as the meeting is a renowned breeding ground for future festival winners.
There are the obvious ones such as Facile Vega, Galopin Des Champs and Lossiemouth, who are each odds-on for their Grade 1 assignments at Leopardstown and are taken to pass their next tests on the road to greatness with flying colours.
However, these are established stars we know plenty about and I’m more interested in finding potential winners from leftfield at much better odds.
I’ve pinpointed three Dublin Racing Festival entries who have the tools to make a splash at both meetings.
Fact To File
Race: 4.40 Leopardstown, Saturday
Those bidding to steal a march on the bookmakers in the Champion Bumper should keep close tabs on the Grade 2 Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (4.40) on Saturday.
The previous four winners of this finished either first or second in the big one at Cheltenham and the horse who stands out by a mile on Racing Post Ratings is Fact To File for Willie Mullins.
Fact To File ran to an RPR of 132 when coming home clear at this course in December over 2m4f and that figure is 7lb higher than anything anyone else in this field has achieved.
He is a best-priced 16-1 for the Champion Bumper and can be backed at 9-2 for Saturday’s race.
While the ground at Leopardstown will be quicker than it was when Fact To File scored on his stable debut, and he looked a stayer that day, bumpers often place an emphasis on stamina for young horses. His ability to stay further is a help rather than a hindrance.
Race: 1.10 Leopardstown, Sunday
The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (1.10) on Sunday has also provided useful pointers towards the festival.
2020 winner Black Tears captured this prize before landing the following year’s Mares’ Hurdle, while in 2021 Heaven Help Us completed the Leopardstown-Cheltenham double with an authoritative triumph in the Coral Cup.
You might have expected Willie Mullins to be responsible for more than three of the 23 entries at the five-day stage, and I’m intrigued by the presence of his four-year-old Risk Belle in this.
Risk Belle has been set a couple of stiff tasks on her two starts for this team, chasing home Triumph Hurdle favourite Lossiemouth at Fairyhouse and then here at Leopardstown.
That Mullins was happy to chuck her in at the deep end suggests she could rate much higher than a mark of 123 and she receives 12lb from the older mares here, having gained adequate experience in Ireland and previously in France.
The fact Risk Belle has been removed from the Spring Juvenile field on Saturday makes sense as she clearly isn’t in Lossiemouth’s league and surely isn’t a Triumph Hurdle horse despite the ambitious entry.
I’m eyeing her up for the Boodles at Cheltenham and the 16-1 available could be a huge price for owner JP McManus, who has bagged three of the past four runnings. She is a 6-1 poke at Leopardstown.
Race: 2.40 Leopardstown, Sunday
I’ve been intrigued by Indigo Breeze since he went down by three-quarters of a length to The Real Whacker at Cheltenham in November and he is the ante-post favourite for the Bulmers Handicap Chase (2.40) on Sunday.
There is little doubt he is seriously well treated off a mark of 133 given the subsequent exploits of The Real Whacker, who now heads the Brown Advisory betting having made every yard in the Grade 2 Dipper next time.
Further proof that Indigo Breeze is well treated can be found through his second to Banbridge over 2m4f at Gowran Park in October. The winner is among the favourites for the Irish Arkle this weekend.
Indigo Breeze’s festival options are up in the air and while this Leopardstown prize might be over 2m5f, staying distances are where this interesting seven-year-old is expected to thrive.
He is 14-1 for the Ultima,10-1 for the Kim Muir, and could be the clear market leader for both of those races come Sunday afternoon.
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Read more . . .
Four outsiders to note at the Dublin Racing Festival - including a JP McManus chaser
State Man v Honeysuckle v Vauban: assessing a star-studded Irish Champion Hurdle
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