I have covered two races from the first day of the weekend Leopardstown Dublin Festival and fingers crossed my first day on Post Racing is a winner.
2.00 ECLAIR DE BEAUFAU/HEARTS ARE TRUMPS/DUE REWARD
A fiercely competitive ‘Ladbroke’. With €125k up for grabs and a massive pot of €73k to the winner we have19 runners go to post.
I am going throw three darts at the this one, JP is throwing 6 at it! In the last 16 years no horse has carried more than 10-11 to victory, Adamant Approach being the last victor to carry above this weight, 17 years ago in 2002, when he won off 11-01.
With that snippet of information it may be well to stick to horses 11 stone or below. Not usually a massive stat man, however, in such a big race this trend cannot be ignored.
Eclair De Beafau:. A very interesting 5-y-o novice hurdler here running off a lovely racing weight of 10-5 and a mark of 130. An ex-french hurdler, he ran very green on his first for starts in maidens in this country, finishing 3-2-3-3 before showing a great battling attitude to break its maiden tag in a 16f event at Limerick Christmas Festival. The last day at Fairyhouse in a 16f rated hurdle(rated 121), he travelled brilliantly and when Kennedy asked him to ‘go on’ the responsive was very impressive, showing a devastating turn of foot to slam his rivals by 5 lengths with Try Again beaten back in third. Very strong form, an unexposed sort for Elliot, who has him entered in Grade 1s at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival. An opening handicap mark of 130 may just underestimate him.
Due Reward: A progressive sort who was doing just that before bombing out when stepped up to Grade 1 company the last day. Back too much calmer waters here, in a handicap. Beat subsequent Galway winner Storm Rising in his second maiden start before a solid winner on handicap debut over 16f at Kilbeggan in the Summer, off a mark of 113 (beating subsequent winner Icario into 3rd in the process). Was ‘right there’ at Cork over 16f before falling 3 out off a mark of 121 (eventual winner was very progressive, Feel the Love). May have just ‘needed it’ at Punchestown three runs back when beaten a length off 121 (however, was off the track for 103 days). On it’s penultimate race he slammed his rivals by 9 lengths in a rated novice hurdle at Punchestown when rated 124. Today he races off 132 and has a nice racing weight of 10-8. The impressive combination of De Bromhead (left)/Blackmore just looks way over-priced and is worth a small play at the double figure price.
Hearts are Trumps: Is my idea of the best handicapped horse at the front of the market. One of 6 runners for owner JP McManus. Unsure why Mark Walsh is getting on last year’s winner Off You Go, when this lad clearly holds him on the Wonder Laish run (riders claim inclusive). Anyway, the main reason maybe the stable is not firing out winners at the minute. However, Des Mcdonagh is a shrewd handler and has the very able Luke Dempsey in the saddle. Very progressive sort who has won 3/7 handicaps..off marks of 104, 114 and 128. Ran a super race at Fairyhouse the last day off a mark of 136, only beaten 1.5 lengths by current fav here Wonder Laish (runs here off 138;6 is better off for a 1.5 length beating). A speedy sort who travels very well in races, a prominent and consistent sort will be suited by a ‘speedy’ track at Leopardstown. Again hard to resist a small play at double figures here.
Recommended Stakes:0.5 pt win on all 3:
Eclair De Beaufeu @ 12-1(General/Star Sports)
Hearts are Trumps @ 10-1(PP/Betvictor)
Due Reward @ 28-1(BETVICTOR)
4.20 MINDS EYE/QUOMINO/REVELYN PLEASURE
A massive pot here of just over €50k to the winner. 15 go to post and again being slightly greedy here I thought there were 3 horses that stood out at the weights:
Minds Eye: I feel this horse is very well handicapped here off a mark of 138. Started jumping life when a very strong second place to Voix Du Reve in a beginners chase at Galway over 16f (may have needed it after a 179 day lay off). Stepped up on that effort when winning a very strong beginners chase at Wexford in October (with Duca De Thaix back in third. He since won 2 valuable handicap chases off 133 & 143). Disappointed when stepped up in trip, over 20f in the Drinmore, again disappointed in a first time tongue strap, well beaten by Le Richebourg in the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival. The tongue strap is left off here. Not a massive price on having to forgive that poor last run, however, if can reproduce that Wexford beginners chase run he would be a tough nut to crack off 138. Again De Bromhead/Blackmore combine. Hard to leave out of the staking plan here.
Quomino: The Paul Nolan stable has hit form in the last week and this one may continue that run. Races here off a mark of 138. A very impressive winner of it’s beginner chase at Fairyhouse over 21f. Unseated rider off an opening mark of 129 in good 17f handicap chase won by Tisamystery. Ran a stormer of a race at Naas the last day (off 129), over 16f handicap chase when staying on strongly only to be denied by a head. Off just a mark 3lb higher today of 132. This 6-y-o son of Lord of England looks to have plenty of scope for improvement. The step up to 17f; and the guaranteed strong pace should suit this one. Nolan won the race a few years back. Strong contender
R’Evelyn Pleasure: This one may escape the market leaders as is trained by a small trainer. However, has done very well this season in all races. A very strong traveller, fell in it’s first beginners chase at Cork over 21f and was travelling and jumping well until falling six out. A very impressive winner over 16f at Clonmel in a beginners chase (beat future winners Monatomic and Poker Party), showing a lovely turn of foot. Beaten at Limerick in novice chase at Christmas by Redhotfillypeppers over 17.5, badly impeded 2 out and bad mistake at the last. Easily forgiven. A fortunate winner of a rated novice chase at Fairyhouse a few weeks back over 20f. The return to 16f suit this strong travelling type. Good to see Donagh Meyler get a nice spin here also. A mark of 127 may not be too bad. At the double figure price, again worth having a small bet.
Recommended Stakes:0.5 pt win on all 3:
Minds Eye @ 13-2(General)
Quomino@ 12-1 (General)
R’Evelyn Pleasure @ 14-1 (General)