The Irish Gold Cup is the feature race over the two days of the Dublin Racing Festival which takes place at Leopardstown this weekend. Road To Respect is BetVictor’s 3/1 market leader and he looked unlucky not to shake up the winner when a running on third to Kemboy in the Savills Chase over C&D over the Festive period.
Lingfield must pass an 8am inspection so it might be prudent to look elsewhere. No such problems expected at Gosforth Park Newcastle. Sam’s Adventure (1.55) got going too late when runner up in a decent Maiden Hurdle over 2m 4f at Ayr last time and today’s extra quarter mile looks sure to suit. Ben Pauling has his string in good form at present and his Nestor Park looks a big danger although he must give the selection 7lbs.
The 3m Handicap Chase is a cracker and I felt Some Rein ran a good race in defeat for Rose Dobbin having her first runners of the year at Kelso last week. Bigirononhiship (2.30) was in the process of running a very big race when falling three out on his reappearance at Haydock at the beginning of December. That was on heavy ground and the forecast is for the possibility of the odd snow shower before and during racing.
J’Ai Froid would be a fitting winner on what is sure to be a raw day, but Petite Ganache (3.05) was a fluent winner over 2m 6f here last time and can double up from a 6lbs higher mark for Nicky Richards and Brian Hughes.
The Harry Whittington yard are not firing on all cylinders, but it is hard not to think Rouge Vif (4.05) will take all the beating in the finale having finished runner up to subsequent Grade 2 winner Mister Fisher at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Down Royal stage their first meeting of the year in Northern Ireland and admission is free. French import Earth Day has his first start for Willie Mullins, but I feel Noel Meade’s Narcissistic (2.50) can cope with the drop back to the minimum trip in the BetVictor sponsored Maiden Hurdle.
At Wolverhampton Noble Expression is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time and, perhaps more importantly, returns to a tapeta surface having been plying his trade on polytrack of late. A market move would be worth noting.
Marginal preference, however, is for Isle Of Avalon (6.45) who looks sure to come on for her reappearance – well backed – and is fitted with blinkers for the first time this afternoon for Sir Mark Prescott. Note the filly also holds an entry at Newcastle on Friday.