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Selections at Leopardstown on Saturday with Paddy Power
A fantastic weekend of racing from Ireland this weekend sees the Dublin Racing Festival take centre stage at Leopardstown. Paddy Power is ensuring that punters don’t miss out on any of the action with a fantastic new customer offer. They are offering £60 in Free Bets when new customers place a £20 bet on the 1:05 at Leopardstown this Saturday. These Free Bets come in the form of a £10 free bet for EVERY remaining race at Leopardstown for the rest of the day!
To go alongside this unmissable offer, our expert editor has provided a selection for the opening 1:05 contest as well as the remaining six races where you can place your Free Bets with Paddy power.
Eric Bloodaxe – 1:05 Leopardstown
Despite the obvious presence of Hollow Games, the vote goes to ERIC BLOODAXE who readily saw off the competition in a Garde 2 contest at Limerick last time out when stepping up in trip, highlighting himself as a top staying prospect in the process.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge has improved with each start this campaign and has only tasted defeat once over hurdles, that coming at the hands of unbeaten hurdler and Grade 1 winner Ginto.
There should be plenty more to come from Eric Bloodaxe as his stamina is drawn out and considering his trainer thinks he will be even better on a sounder surface, the seven-year-old looks a serious player in this opening contest and connections will already be eyeing up a tilt at the Albert Bartlett at next months Festival.
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Fil Dor – 1:35 Leopardstown
This looks like a match up between two very smart juvenile prospects represented by the top connections. Vauban has only raced once for trainer Willie Mullins but considering he got within 0.5l to subsequent Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial winner Pied Piper on debut at Punchestown, the French import is evidently a classy individual.
However, with winning Graded form in the book already it’s hard to see past FIL DOR who has quickly established himself as a leading contender for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham after landing Grade 3 and Grade 2 victories at Fairyhouse and over course and distance most recently.
Fil Dor is likely to face stiffer competition from Vauban this weekend but he is arguably one of the smartest juveniles in Ireland and will be difficult to overhaul with the prospect of more to come.
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Blue Lord – 2:10 Leopardstown
It’s been smooth sailing since BLUE LORD made the transition to the larger obstacles and although this represents the seven-year-olds toughest task to date over fences, Willie Mullins’ improving chaser looks the one to be on once again.
Blue Lord has looked much more at home since going chasing and after readily opening his account over fences at Fairyhouse, the seven-year-old bounded away from two rivals at Naas in a race that was previously won by superstar stablemate Energumene.
That theme continues this Saturday as Blue Lord will look to emulate Energumene’s success in this particular contest from 12 months ago and if putting up another smart winning performance, connections of Blue Lord will be confident he can justify his position at the top of the market at next months Cheltenham Festival when lining up in the Arkle.
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Futurum Regem – 2:45 Leopardstown
This 24 runner handicap contest looks fiercely competitive with the majority of the runners holding some sort of chance based on recent displays. Priory Park has won his last two starts and is clearly on the up at present, though a 10lb hike in the weights for his recent victory could scupper his chance.
Panda Boy relished the 3mile trip when comfortably scoring last time out and remains unexposed but his current price reflects his obvious claims. At twice the price, it may be worth siding with FUTURUM REGEM who finished third behind Panda Boy last time out but had to endure a troubled run from the rear before staying on in the closing stages to take third. The six-year-old still looks fairly treated and may be able to turn the tables with a smoother passage on Saturday afternoon.
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Asterion Forlonge – 3:15 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup
Kemboy will look to follow up last year’s victory after a recent return to form when finishing third in the Savills Chase behind A Plus Tard and Galvin. However, the ten-year-old is certainly not the force of old and is worth taking on as things stand.
Connections of Gold Cup hero Minella Indo will be on a fact-finding mission as Henry De Bromhead’s charge has been disappointing on his last couple of starts including when pulling up in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, whilst British raider Frodon will likely face competition for the lead and is passed over this time around.
Although his jumping technique leaves little to be desired, ASTERION FORLONGE was in the process of running a mighty race in the King George last time out and would have finished runner-up to stablemate Tornado Flyer if not coming to grief at the last obstacle.
Despite his jumping blemishes, Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old has improved in recent starts and certainly showed his aptitude for 3miles last time out when travelling powerfully under Bryan Cooper and arguably looked the most likely winner as they turned for home.
If ironing out those mistakes he has the intrinsic ability to be a real force at this trip and although recent mistakes have cost him dearly, Asterion Forlonge is worth another chance in the hope that he puts it all together in Saturday’s feature contest.
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Exit Poll – 3:50 Leopardstown
Mt Leinster has failed to live up to expectation so far over hurdles and since switching to fences and although Willie Mullins’ charge looks like a leading player on handicap debut, there are better options at the current prices.
It’s interesting to see A Wave Of The Sea back over this distance considering he has campaigned over 3miles in recent starts including when finishing second in the Munster National on his penultimate start.
A recent return from a layoff should have EXIT POLL spot on for Saturday’s assignment and the eight-year-old is taken to get the better of rival Grange Walk, who took a crashing fall when last sene after putting in a sloppy round of jumping at Fairyhouse.
Exit Poll will have to defy top weight but he has far less to prove than most in this contest and could well be up to the challenge with the prospect of more to come.
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Facile Vega – 16:25 Leopardstown
FACILE VEGA never came out of second gear when cruising to an opening course and distance success on Boxing Day. The manner of that victory highlighted him as a potential superstar and all eyes will be on Willie Mullins’ charge in the concluding race.
The exciting five-year-old could hardly have been any more impressive under Patrick Mullins on debut, striding clear and only having to be pushed out to win by 6l at the winning line. That opening win has seen Facile Vega soar to the head of the market for this year’s Champion Bumper alongside Gordon Elliot’s American Mike.
This certainly won’t be a walk in the park for Facile Vega as the likes of The Big Doyen and Itswhatunitesus both look smart prospects for their respected connections on what we’ve seen so far. However, Facile Vega could be something very special and is taken to complete back to back course and distance wins.
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