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Dublin Racing Festival – Leopardstown 5th February

Saturday 5th February 13:05

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith previews day one of the Dublin Racing Festival with 3 each-way selections in two races.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Unexpected Depth 12/112/1 14.45 Leopardstown
each-way (7 places 1/5 odds)
Place BetPlace Bet
Priory Park 7/17/1 14.45 Leopardstown
each-way (7 places 1/5 odds)
Place BetPlace Bet
Delta Work 10/110/1 15.15 Leopardstown
each-way (3 places 1/5 odds)
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 04/02/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (14:53 04/02/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Let the games begin!

For jumps fans, this weekend marks just about the most exciting few days of racing outside of the Cheltenham Festival. The (fairly) newly birthed Dublin Racing Festival kicks off on Saturday – perfect yielding ground, Grade 1’s aplenty, Willie Mullins v Gordon Elliott v Henry De Bromhead, Paul Townend v Davy Russell/Jack Kennedy v Rachael Blackmore, devilishly competitive handicaps, and much much more…

Starting with a bang, as 3 Grade 1’s come at us straight out of the traps, and I struggled to find a betting angle in any of them, with the market looking about right in the opening Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors ‘50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff’ Novice Hurdle.

Next up is the Racing TV ‘12 Euros Per Month This Weekend Only’ Spring Juvenile Hurdle, with Fil Dor and Vauban bidding to prove the juvenile pecking order correct currently, and I wouldn’t be in a rush to suggest it’s not.

Interesting each-way support started to filter in on Friday afternoon for the Willie Mullins’ stable newcomer Vadaly, who does hold a Triumph Hurdle entry. Might be worth keeping half an eye on that market move…

The Patrick Ward & Co Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase looks to be a match between the ever-improving Blue Lord and the standard setter Riviere D’Etel, and I found it hard to split them. The Willie Mullins-trained Haut En Couleurs and Super Sam provide very able understudies, and should either of the market leaders fluff their lines, these two won’t be far away.

The first selections of the weekend come in the Paddy Power ‘I’d Love A Can But Pints Are Cheaper’ Handicap Hurdle, run over 3m at 2.45.

It appears to be virtually a re-run of the Pertemps Qualifier run over course and distance at Christmas, and on bare form you can see why the likes of Dunboyne and Panda Boy are fancied.

But bare form can sometimes be a slightly deceiving thing, and given how well-favoured horses were that raced prominently that day at Leopardstown, the Oliver McKiernan-trained Unexpected Depth ran a pretty extraordinary race.

A gradual improver last season, Unexpected Depth began this season in a fashion that suggested he could easily improve again, as he charted a much tougher passage through that race at Christmas than anything else he re-opposes here.

At 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power, who offer a whopping 7 places, Unexpected Depth can come forward for that run, and appreciate both the better ground he’ll face and the fact that regular pilot Barry Browne gets back aboard.

The horse to have a saver on in the race is the JP McManus-owned Priory Park, who has the look of a rapid improver, having scored over around 2m4f the last twice. He went through the race here over that trip at Christmas, on the same day as Unexpected Depth, in a fashion that suggested time-wise he was no less a horse than the main selection, and could potentially improve for this step up to 3m.

At 7/1 each-way with Paddy Power, securing those 7 places again, make Priory Park the other bet in the race, in addition to the 12/1 each-way about Leopardstown regular Unexpected Depth.

The Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at 3.15 has a really appealing betting look to it to this eye, as for all that Kemboy enjoys it here, he is beatable. I’m not sure Frodon will be absolutely at his peak after a tough opening few races to his season, while Minella Indo has a little to prove at this track and will be on a retrieval mission here.

Asterion Forlonge has the ability to win this, but for obvious reasons isn’t really a betting proposition. I don’t believe that Janidil stays well enough at this trip, nor does Cilaos Emery, and Conflated shouldn’t be good enough.

So…by a process of elimination somewhat, the bet has to be 3-time course and distance winner and winner of this race in 2020, Delta Work. At 10/1 each-way with Paddy Power, he can easily bounce back to form for Jack Kennedy.

Always in need of his first run of the season, the fact he was so close to Frodon and Minella Indo at Down Royal was a real fillip to connections.

But then, on the face of it, he was a little disappointing in the Savills Chase at Christmas. But given how much the track seemed to be favouring prominent racers that day – just as Delta Work was making notable progress, he was slow at the fence down the side – all means that I think he is worth forgiving that run.

Cheekpieces going on are a signal of intent from Gordon Elliott, and considering Delta Work is perhaps just a little off the very top level at Cheltenham, this is surely ‘his Gold Cup’, and not just the Irish Gold Cup!

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