Saturday’s Lucky 15 – Racing Best Bets on February 5

The Irish Gold Cup is Leopardstown's feature contest this Saturday. Can Asterion Forlonge return to winning ways?The Irish Gold Cup is Leopardstown's feature contest this Saturday. Can Asterion Forlonge return to winning ways?

Horse Racing Tips on Saturday, February 5

The Dublin Racing Festival takes centre stage in Ireland this weekend with top quality graded and handicap action to look forward to. There are also five meetings spread across Britain on Saturday, with the action coming from Kempton, Lingfield, Musselburgh, Sandown and Wetherby. Our expert tipster has produced their best bets across Britain and Ireland, which make up our advised Saturday Lucky 15.

Eric Bloodaxe (1:05 Leopardstown) 

Connections will be hoping for a big run from ERIC BLOODAXE in the opening race at the Dublin Racing Festival after the seven-year-old put in a stout staying performance to land grade 2 honours at Limerick over the festive period.

The manner of that victory was certainly pleasing on the eye as Joseph O’Brien’s charge readily drew clear in the closing stages over 2m7f despite the attritional conditions and hitting a flat spot midway through the race, suggesting stamina tests are going to be very much his forte as the season continues. 

Although the seven-year-old has faired best with plenty of cut in the ground, Joseph O’Brien is adamant that his runner will be even better when encountering sounder racing conditions. Eric Bloodaxe is seemingly improving with every run this season and looks to have the ideal credentials to play a leading role in the Albert Bartlett at next months Cheltenham Festival. He represents a bit of value in this Grade 1 contest and is well worthy of landing the spoils for owners Gigginstown. 

Highly Prized (2:40 Musselburgh)

Winning the top Saturday contests are often hard to come by but just try telling that to trainer Emma Lavelle who has had her team in red hot form in weekends gone by. Eclair Surf landed the Classic  Handicap Chase at Wincanton last month, before stable icon Paisley Park returned to his best to land the Cleeve Hurdle last weekend at Cheltenham. 

Let’s hope HIGHLY PRIZED can follow in their footsteps this Saturday as the nine-year-old makes his seasonal return after last being seen over fences at Uttoxeter in May.

Prior to that venture over the larger obstacles, Highly Prized was a progressive hurdler for connections, winning three of his opening four starts over timber for connections. Connections anticipated a big run from Highly Prized in the 2020 Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle but after racing prominently throughout, Emma Lavelle’s charge dropped away tamely in the closing stages. 

However, Highly Prized was quick to return to winning ways when his sights were eventually lowered, landing a handicap at Stratford in the summer by a comfortable 4l margin. There should still be some room for improvement from his mark of 139 and despite lacking a recent run, the nine-year-old has run well fresh in the past and looks a leading player as he returns over hurdles. 

Ree Okka (2:55 Sandown)

Although he may lack the experience on handicap debut, it was hard not to be impressed with how comfortable REE OKKA scored at Kempton last time out. 

Harry Fry’s six-year-old had shown a potent turn of foot at Chepstow on hurdling debut when scoring by 2l over an extended 2m3f and certainly indicated that a step up in trip would see him in an even better light.

That marked increase in the distance came last month over 3miles where Ree Okka made smooth progress through the pack before effortlessly going clear under jockey Sean Bowen to rout the opposition and put his name forward as a potential Cheltenham hopeful for team Britain this year. 

However, trainer Harry Fry was quick to quash those Festival suggestions despite the dominant and taking performance. There should be plenty more to come from Ree Okka over 3miles and though he steps up into Graded company, he could prove to be a top-class prospect and a mark of 130 could seriously underestimate him.

Asterion Forlonge (3:15 Leopardstown) 

The Irish Gold Cup is Saturday’s feature Grade 1 and although Kemboy will be looking to follow up in this race from 12 months ago, he often finds one or two too good on the day and is clearly not the force he once was.

It may be worth giving ASTERION FORLONGE another chance as he was in the process of running a huge race behind stablemate and eventual winner Tornado Flyer in the King George on Boxing Day but came to grief at the final obstacle after travelling ominously well on his first start over 3miles. 

Despite his jumping costing him in recent starts over fences, Willie Mullins’ charge still possess enough ability to go close in Leopardstown’s main contest and is worth supporting in the hope that he finally puts it all together this time around.