2023 Dublin Racing Festival
2023 Dublin Racing Festival – The Coffee Blog
Author: Andrew Halligan
The 2023 Dublin Racing Festival is finally here, the two-day horse racing spectacular.
As we head into the two-day spectacular with all Cheltenham Festival dreams still in tack, let us look forward to who I think will be walking out of Leopardstown with their Cheltenham Festival dreams in tacked and who will be leaving with their tail between their legs.
I have picked four horses who I think will be worth following over the two days.
The Coffee Blog
Before we get into my predictions I would like to tell you about how I am writing this blog. Of course I am sitting back and enjoying a delicious coffee made here in the Mean Bean Barista Academy. And today I am enjoying the following:
Coffee: No.10 in a Flat White
This coffee has notes of Caramel & Nutty sweetness and is created using three beans from Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia. The perfect coffee to digest this next piece.
2023 Dublin Racing Festival – Day One
Leopardstown 1:20 – Grade 1 Novices Hurdle 2m6f
There is no finding our feet on day one of the 2023 Dublin Racing Festival as we start with a back with the first of 8 Grade 1s over the two days as the staying novice hurdlers take center stage in the Grade 1 2m6f Novice Hurdle.
This is as comparative as they come with five of the nine-strong fields coming in here on the back of a win. But let us narrow it down to who I think will be leaving the Cheltenham dream still alive.
Good Land, the current 5/2 favorite comes in here on the back of an impressive win in a Leopardstown maiden, but it has taken some knocks along the way.
Second that day Tag Man was put in his place into 3rd by Found A Fifty and the Willie Mullins trained Parmenion, who has suffered his second odds-on defeat in a row.
Granted the 5th in Good Lands maiden win, Embassy Gardens has gone and bolted up at Thurles next time out by no less than 35 lengths, but you can take that with a pinch of salt as the race did fall apart, so all in all, I will be taking on Good Land, but who with?
Interestingly, Nigel Twiston-Davies is sending over Weveallbeencaught on the back of a maiden success, but the 2nd on the day Rock My Way (23L back to 3rd) has since gone and won a Grade 2 on trails day back at Cheltenham, so his form righty away is working out very well. All in all, he is a massive danger to all.
If you forgive American Mike his last run he would prove a huge danger to everyone here. But the one I will be siding with is the Paul Nolan trained, SANDOR CLEGANE.
Quite a decent bumper horse last season where his best run was at last season’s Dublin Racing Festival where he chased home the superstar that is Facile Vega.
He started life over hurdles where he bumped into none other than the Albert Bartlett contender, Three Card Brag.
He made no mistake next time out where he won in a hack canter at 15/8 by 12 lengths.
Paul Nolan knows how to handle a good one when he has it, and he won this race a few years back with the ill-fated Latest Exhibition. Currently 4/1 in the market, I can see Sandor Clegane taking the next step in search of Cheltenham glory.
Leopardstown 2:30 – Irish Arkle Novices’ Chase 2m
Blink and you will miss it.
The top 2m novice chasers will go head to head from the drop of the flag and one mistake could spell the end of your chances.
Willie Mullins holds no less than 5 of the 8 entries and it’s hard not to see him walking away with the winner, but who will be crossing the line first?
So let’s dissect this as best we can.
Appreciate It heads the market at 7/4 but is he the one that jockey Paul Townend will pick? I for one think he will side with DYSART DYNAMO and here’s why.
I have said from the start of the season that to me Appreciate It is destined for middle-distance trips and this is where you will see an even better horse. He is in the mold of an Allaho and I think the speedier Dysart Dynamo will have too many gears for him.
Dysart Dynamo comes here on the back of an ultra-impressive chase debut over course and distance, and do I believe he will improve upon this? Yes, 100%.
This race could well be over by the time they get to the home bend if they give Dysart too much rope up front.
A lot of people have in their heads that he was underperforming when falling at Cheltenham in the Supreme Novices Hurdle last season, but not much went right for him that day. From getting taken on by Jonbon and lighting him up, to trying to beat what could be one of the greatest horses we have ever seen in Constitution Hill, it just wasn’t his day. You can also write off the final run of the season where he had a small heart issue which seems to be well and truly resolved.
This is a race that we could be talking about for weeks/months to come.
2023 Dublin Racing Festival – Day Two
This is D-day for the Queen of horse racing, Honeysuckle.
Can she get back to winning ways after her first-ever defeat when turned over in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace, or is it the final chapter in what has been a record-breaking career?
I for one hope it is one where you will see grown men shed a tear as the Queen crosses the line in her old dogged fashion as she blows the roof off Leopardstown, but I can’t honestly give an unbiased view on the Irish Champion Hurdle because there is only one result I want.
So, let’s go back to the start of the day and the open race of day two of the 2023 Dublin Racing Festival.
Leopardstown 1:10 – Mares Handicap Hurdle 2m 1½f
This is one race where I have had an eye on this mare she was first entered for this, and that is the Gordon Elliott trained LIBERTY DANCE.
Last seen winning as she liked at Thurles in what was then the final ride of Davy Russell’s career.
Gordon won this last season with Party Central, and I am very confident that Liberty Dance will make it back-to-back wins for Gordo.
The form of her Maiden win at Thurles has been franked with the 2nd on the day Foxy Girl going on to win easy next time out.
She will be carrying 11st 4lb but this should not be a problem for her as she is a fine big mare and I see Davy getting Sunday off to a flying start with his only sparring partner.
Leopardstown 2:40 – Grada A Handicap Chase – 2m5f
At the current price of 7/1 I think the Henry de Bromhead trained Maskada is a fantastic each-way bet.
After falling 2 out at Fairyhouse on December 4th, she made no mistake next time at Limerick when winning with a lot more up her sleeve than the winning margin suggested.
She won that off 132 and comes in here off a new mark of 141, which I think is more than manageable.
The only worry I would have is the current form of the de Bromhead stable.
Yes he had a dead-heat winner on Monday, but before that, a lot of his string has been stopping like something is not right once again, but she was winning when Henry’s horses were still not firing on all cylinders, and I think she could well cash in again this weekend.
One at a bigger price who just loves Leopardstown is A Wave Of The Sea who won this race last season 142 and is not just 2lb higher. Do not rule out a massive run at 20/1.
This is a weekend where we will learn a lot from current Gold Cup favorite Galopin Des Champs, who will take his final race before putting his stamina to the test in the blue ribbon event this March.
There are so many top-class horses on display and if you do not enjoy the 2023 Dublin Racing Festival then you have to think, is this for me?
To find out more about the event visit The Dublin Racing Festival!