Leopardstown Saturday racing tips – Dublin Racing Festival day one selections

Brian Healy assesses the opening day racecard of the 2020 Dublin Racing Festival and gives his Leopardstown Saturday tips for a top-class racecard.

The 2020 Dublin Racing Festival kicks off on Saturday at Leopardstown for the first of two days’ top-class racing at the premier Irish venue.

No less than eight Grade One races will unfold over the course of the two days where there ought to be plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues to be had. Brian Healy looks over the day one racecard and gives his Leopardstown Saturday racing tips for a cracking afternoon of racing action.

12:50 – Nathaniel Lacy & Ptnrs Solicitors “50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff” Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m6f
1:25 – Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f
2:00 – ERSG Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f
2:35 – Matheson Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 2m1f
3:10 – PCI Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m
3:45 – Ladbrokes Hurdle (Extended Handicap Hurdle) (Grade B) (4yo+ 0-150) 2m
4:20 – Goffs Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) (4-7yo) 2m

LEOPARDSTOWN SATURDAY RACING TIPS AT A GLANCE

12:50 – LATEST EXHIBITION (5/2, Ladbrokes)
1:25 – MIN (7/2, Coral)
2:00 – NOTEBOOK (7/4, Bet365)
2:35 – CHARLE STOUT (10/1, Unibet)
3:10 – HONEYSUCKLE (6/4, Ladbrokes)
3:45 – TOP MOON (6/1, William Hill)
4:20 – ERIC BLOODAXE (13/8, Paddy Power)

12:50 – Nathaniel Lacy & Ptnrs Solicitors “50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff” Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m6f

LATEST EXHIBITION (5/2, Ladbrokes) lowered the colours of the well-regarded Andy Dufresne when taking the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle in December and the Oscar gelding can take another forward step.

Paul Nolan’s charge is 2-3 over hurdles, meeting with his sole defeat when beaten three lengths behind Abacadabras on his previous start although he possibly found that trip too sharp and he showed improvement stepped up in trip to win latest.

He goes up further in distance for this latest outing which could elicit further improvement and he can take the step into Grade One company in his stride with another success.

1:25 – Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f

MIN (7/2, Coral) wasn’t always fluent when making a winning return to action in the John Durkan Memorial Chase but Willie Mullins’ charge can make it 2-2 for the season if brushing up on his jumping.

The Walk In The Park gelding won the same race twelve months ago enroute to taking this prize with a defeat of Ordinary World, and he charts a similar course this campaign where he can collect a second win in this race.

Following on from those wins he bounced back from a lesser effort in the Champion Chase to win the Melling Chase at Aintree, and he chased home stablemate Un De Sceaux in the Boylesports Champion Chase at Punchestown on his final start prior to a break.

Versatile with regards to trip he should strip fitter for his reappearance at Punchestown and he ought to be competitive once more.

Min features in Saturday's Leopardstown tips.

Min can land further Grade One success at Leopardstown on Saturday.

2:00 – ERSG Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f

NOTEBOOK (7/4, Bet365) is unbeaten in three starts over fences and Henry de Bromhead’s charge can extend that sequence here.

The Samum gelding won a Grade Two over fences on just his second start when beating Moon Over Germany in the Craddockstown Chase, after which he lowered the colours of the reopposing Fakir D’oudairies in the Racing Post Novice Chase over this course and distance.

He scored with something in hand that day, keeping on strongly to vanquish his younger opponent and he can repeat the dose here where a win would cement his place for Cheltenham.

2:35 – Matheson Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 2m1f

This is competitive but a chance istaken on the consistent CHARLE STOUT (10/1, Unibet) who bounced back from an unlucky run in the Adare Manor Handicap Chase here during the Christmas Festival to score at Fairyhouse next time.

Shane Nolan’s charge has finished third or better in six of his last seven starts over fences where he also scored at Galway in September, and he appeared to win a shade readily from Avenir D’une Vie last time with the pair pulling clear.

A subsequent 5lbs rise in the weights looks workable, and he can continue his good run of form to post another big run here where it wouldn’t come as a shock to see him involved at the business end.

3:10 – PCI Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m

Klassical Dream bids to repair his tarnished reputation, but HONEYSUCKLE’s (6/4, Ladbrokes) reputation continues to flourish and Henry de Bromhead’s star mare can maintain her unbeaten record with another success to extend her record to a perfect seven.

The Sulamani mare has answered every question posed to her with the minimum of fuss, stepping up on an impressive return to action to readily beat Bacardys in the Grade One Hatton’s Grade Hurdle where she ran out an easy nine lengths’ victor where the likes of Apple’s Jade and Penhill were further back.

She can continue her remarkable ascent to the top with another win here where she receives weight all round, and she could prove a tough nut to crack.

Honeysuckle is one of our Saturday Leopardstown selections

Honeysuckle can make it a perfect seven wins with another success at Leopardstown on Saturday.

3:45 – Ladbrokes Hurdle (Extended Handicap Hurdle) (Grade B) (4yo+ 0-150) 2m

TOP MOON (6/1, William Hill) bumped into the smart Alfa Mix at Navan when last seen out in December, but Joseph O’Brien’s charge has won or finished runner-up in all five starts over hurdles.

A Kilbeggan winner on his debut over timber, he bagged a brace of silver medals at Listowel and Galway before getting back to winning ways with a defeat of Morosini at Cork.

That rival has won since to boost the form and he lost no caste in defeat in his last outing where the front trio pulled clear, finding only the winner too good.

He’s been hit with a 5lbs rise in the weights which demands another jolt of improvement, but he looks a progressive sort who could have better still to come and he can post another big effort here.

4:20 – Goffs Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) (4-7yo) 2m

ERIC BLOODAXE (13/8, Paddy Power) has looked a potential star in readily winning bumpers at Fairyhouse and here over Christmas, and Joseph O’Brien’s charge can take another step up the ladder.

The Saint Des Saints gelding beat a well-regarded sort of Willie Mullins when scoring on his debut at the beginning of December where he travelled well throughout the race before readily asserting. He subsequently built on that good first impression when beating Wide Receiver at this venue.

This is tougher, but he has looked a very smart prospect in those runs and with the potential for further improvement to come he can collect the hat-trick of successes here.

LEOPARDSTOWN SATURDAY RACING TIPS AT A GLANCE

12:50 – LATEST EXHIBITION (5/2, Ladbrokes)
1:25 – MIN (7/2, Coral)
2:00 – NOTEBOOK (7/4, Bet365)
2:35 – CHARLE STOUT (10/1, Unibet)
3:10 – HONEYSUCKLE (6/4, Ladbrokes)
3:45 – TOP MOON (6/1, William Hill)
4:20 – ERIC BLOODAXE (13/8, Paddy Power)

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