Cheltenham Festival tips: Master McShee tops our Dublin Festival eyecatchers

Master McShee was a big eye-catcher at last weekend's Dublin Racing Festival and could prove Cheltenham bound.Master McShee was a big eye-catcher at last weekend's Dublin Racing Festival and could prove Cheltenham bound.

Dublin Racing Festival Eye-catchers

Last year’s Dublin Festival at Leopardstown was riddled with Cheltenham clues with eight winners. These included the two big staying handicaps; Heaven Help Us in the Coral Cup (33-1) and Mrs Milner in the Pertemps Final (12-1). Honeysuckle, Galopin Des Champs and Blue Lord rightly made the headlines last weekend but we have delved a bit deeper for horses likely to pop up at a nice price at Cheltenham.

Master McShee

The first name on the list is Master McShee, nine lengths second to Galopin Des Champs. The winner is exceptional so it was a mighty effort for Master McShee to close on him going comfortably with four to jump. He had no answer when the favourite went through the gears but his run suggests he could be a leading player in a race like the Paddy Power Plate for which he is 10-1 (NRNB) with BetVictor. A note of caution is that the horse has burst blood vessels in the past so his trainer will not be taking any chances with him.

Minella Crooner

The opening race of the two-day Dublin Festival was a Grade 1 over two and three-quarter miles. Victory went to the front-running Minella Cocooner but the eye was drawn to runner-up Minella Crooner who stayed on dourly into second place. He is already a winner over three miles and he has to be on the short-list for the Albert Bartlett (6-1 NRNB Sky Bet, William Hill).


The big staying handicap hurdle featured a gamble on the Emmet Mullins-trained Rightplacerightime, backed down from 7-1 to 7-2. He was run out of it by Good Time Jonny but still earned a quote of 12-1 for the Pertemps. Rightplacerightime is only rated 116 in Ireland and was sixth at Haydock off 125 in November. He looks bound for the Pertemps Final with stable companion Winter Fog perhaps heading for the Coral Cup.

Ballywilliam Boy

A potential long shot for the notebook is Ballywilliam Boy who dead-heated for sixth place behind Good Time Jonny. He travelled like a dream into the race but did not seem to see out the three miles. He started the race off a rating of 131, 15lbs higher than Rightplacerightime, and he would be an interesting entry for either the Coral Cup (two miles and five furlongs) or the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (two and a half miles).

Magic Tricks

Magic Tricks chased home Call Me Lyreen in a typically competitive Liffey Handicap Hurdle. He races in the JP McManus colours for Gordon Elliott so he will have a choice of options at Cheltenham. He stuck on gamely to overhaul Autumn Evening but could not respond to the late thrust of Call Me Lyreen. Surprisingly, the six-year-old only has one victory from ten starts over hurdles but you could see him popping up in a race like the County Hurdle (20-1 NRNB Sky Bet, Bet Victor).

Autumn Evening

Jessica Harrington’s Autumn Evening was another eye-catcher in the same race. He travelled strongly in front approaching the last but landed a bit flat-footed and eventually finishing third. The five-year-old was seemingly unfancied at 28-1 that day but looks a ready-made future winner of a similar handicap. He has yet to race beyond two miles so you would suspect the County Hurdle would also be his likely Cheltenham objective (20-1 NRNB Betfred).