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Dublin Racing Festival Four to Follow

Keith Donoghue for Bookies.com

Keith Donoghue  | 8 mins

Dublin Racing Festival Four to Follow

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Previous Blogs:

  • Keith Donoghue's National Hunt Season Five To Follow
  • Cheltenham Festival Novice Hurdlers Preview
  • Keith Donoghue's Mid Season Review

It's a big weekend ahead at the Dublin Racing Festival and the declarations certainly did not let us down. I'm naturally a bit disappointed with the way it fell as I don't have a ride on the Saturday. Unfortunately when you can only ride at the weights I do it just means your handicap chances are limited and Gordon only has one in most of the Grade One's.

That's life though and I really hope the yard has a great two days - hopefully The Storyteller and myself take our place in the Irish Gold Cup as well!

Appreciate It Will Be Hard To Beat

I've covered a few of the big races with my fancies below, but of the other big races I think Appreciate It will be very hard to stop in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle. As much as Ballyadam has his excuses for the poor run at Christmas, Appreciate It just looks a step ahead of everything in the division.

Don't get me wrong, Ballyadam is a very good horse, but I think we'll see even more improvement from him on better ground.

It's hard to see Monkfish and Chacun Pour Soi beaten in their respective races and Willie looks very strong in the Irish Arkle as well with Energumene. Felix Desjy should run a lot better than he did at Christmas when Gordon's horses weren't right, but the favourite again looks very good.

I'm expecting a much better showing from Abacadabras in the Irish Champion Hurdle, but at the moment I'd share the same ground concerns for him as I would for Ballyadam. He handles soft ground as he showed at Cheltenham, but he's a better horse when he can really use his speed. I rode him for work for the first time for a long while last week and he felt very well in himself.

He has to improve past the Morgiana form and he could, but he meets a properly brilliant mare in Honeysuckle. Very good horses like her always win by a comfortable amount, as she did in this race last year and Abacadabras has to improve to get level anyway in my opinion.

Abacadabras is a very good horse himself and I hope he can put himself back into a Cheltenham Champion Hurdle picture at the weekend.

The Irish Gold Cup only has 5 runners, but it's full of class and I think Delta Work is a big price at 5/1 currently. Minella Indo could be top class, but he has to actually go and do it now. We know Delta Work loves it here and he was just unlucky at Christmas when unseating. I'm surprised by Delta Work's price to be honest.

The Storyteller hopefully runs here and I think we could go well. He will want better ground, but he does handle soft and we could run better than his price suggests!

If The Storyteller is my only ride of the weekend and we win the Irish Gold, I'd take it!

  • Check Out Racing TV’s Donn McClean’s Horses To Follow

Dublin Racing Festival Four To Follow

1.05 Leopardstown (Saturday) - Cape Gentleman

This is a really good Grade One and we will learn a lot for Cheltenham from this. Fakiera runs here and he's a very good horse who I think will run very well, but I thought Cape Gentleman was excellent last time for Emmet Mullins and it wouldn't surprise if he was to improve again.

It's obviously hard to know what he beat last time in a race I rode in, but he was very classy on the flat as a stayer and won that day effortlessly. He's very unexposed and should really enjoy going up in trip. Brian Hayes is a very good jockey who is having a great season and I'd be delighted for him if he could take a Grade One.

3.50 Leopardstown (Saturday) - Gabynako

This is a really competitive handicap, but I thought Gabynako was a big price as he carries in some very good form here.

He has plenty of experience now as he has run five times this season, but he has produced some excellent efforts such as when finishing close seconds to Eskylane and Fakeira, as well not disgracing himself by any means behind Bob Olinger. Dropping back in trip is a slight worry, but in these handicaps you need to stay well and the ground will make this into a bit more a staying test. 16/1 looks a big price really.

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1.40 Leopardstown (Sunday) - Quilixios

As readers of this column will know I'm not convinced there is all that much between Quilixios and Zanahiyr, and I think Quilixios will be hard to stop in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

I think if Gordon is to have a winner this weekend it will be him and his work has continued to be very good at home. He has won his races very easily so far and I think whoever shows up against him will have to improve to get to him.

4.10 Leopardstown (Sunday) - Farclas

Another big handicap to take apart, but I think Farclas is improving every time he runs and he is more than good enough to take this.

That was a huge run in the Paddy Power when he finished 3rd and while I think he stays the further trip, he travelled excellently at Christmas and dropping back to 2 miles and 5 furlongs will really suit him. He's a former Cheltenham Festival winner so we know he has class and he could take advantage of his mark.

About the Author

Keith Donoghue for Bookies.com
Keith Donoghue
Keith Donoghue is one of the top National Hunt jockeys in the world, famed for his partnership with Tiger Roll winning two Cross Country Chases at the Cheltenham Festival. Keith also boasts a Grade 1 winner over fences, and is a great writer to boot. Keith covered the day to day of being a jockey in his weekly blog exclusive to Bookmakers.