The top jockeys to watch out for at Leopardstown
With multiple winning rides on the likes of Presenting Percy and Death Duty blowing his boat along, Davy Russell has streaked clear in the race for the Irish jockeys' title with 89 wins.
Russell is the man with the cool head for the big occasion having celebrated a winner at each of the last 12 Cheltenham Festivals, and last year scooped two of the eight Grade 1s that have been brought together to form the heart of Leopardstown's new two-day bonanza.
A crunch clash with Footpad in Saturday's Arkle Novice Chase awaits on Petit Mouchoir, while Russell will be out to put things right on RSA hope Monalee in the Flogas Novice Chase after the pair fell at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Russell is set to be reunited with Troytown winner Mala Beach in the Irish Gold Cup.
If you're searching for someone who knows how to ride winners at Leopardstown, look no further than Patrick Mullins.
Over the last four season Mullins has had 34 rides at the course and won on 16 of them, a 47 per cent strike-rate. A fiver on all of those runners would have yielded a £104.50 profit.
That record would likely have been even better if Sharjah had not fallen at the last in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle over Christmas.
Mullins is reunited with Blackbow in the bumper that closes Saturday's card following an impressive victory on St Stephen's Day. He is also set to be on one of the bankers of the meeting in Colreevy in the mares' bumper that concludes affairs on Sunday.
There will be no Ruby Walsh in action at the Dublin Racing Festival but there will be a Paul Townend, who has a magnificent book of rides in Walsh's continued absence through injury.
Faugheen comes his way in the Irish Champion Hurdle as does Footpad in the Arkle Novice Chase, while he rides Yorkhill in the Dublin Chase.
The quality does not let up on Sunday as he is likely to climb aboard the fascinating Killultagh Vic in the Irish Gold Cup, Sharjah in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle and Stormy Ireland in the juvenile hurdle.
Away from the Grade 1s Townend has even got the best-backed horse of the weekend when he partners Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall off a 31lb lower hurdles mark than his chase rating in the 3m handicap hurdle on Sunday.
Few will be going into the festival in better form than Jack Kennedy, who has had eight wins from his last 22 rides. His winner at Down Royal on Wednesday on his last ride before the weekend was his third in a row. So he will not be short of confidence for the ride on Samcro.
Two wins by a combined 27 lengths have elevated the Gordon Elliott-trained six-year-old to the head of the market for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and make him the prime ride for Kennedy in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.
Outlander in the Irish Gold Cup and Farclas in the juvenile hurdle are among a host of others for the 18-year-old to look forward to over the two days.
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