Sunday Leopardstown best bets – Tips for day two of the Dublin Racing Festival

Brian Healy assesses the second day racecard of the 2020 Dublin Racing Festival and gives his Sunday Leopardstown best bets for another top-class racecard.

The 2020 Dublin Racing Festival enters its’ second day on Sunday with another fixture at Leopardstown and the day two racecard features another quartet of quality Grade One contests headed by the Irish Gold Cup.

Brian Healy looks over the day two racecard and gives his Sunday Leopardstown best bets and tips for every race on a cracking afternoon of racing action.

12:55 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m2f
1:25 – Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo) 2m
1:55 – Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m
2:30 – William Fry Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+ 0-150) 3m
3:00 – Flogas Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m5f
3:30 – Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m
4:00 – Gaelic Plant Hire Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) (5yo+) 2m5f
4:35 – Coolmore N.H. Sires Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) (4-7yo) 2m

SUNDAY LEOPARDSTOWN BEST BETS AT A GLANCE

12:55 – JEREMYS FLAME (10/1, Ladbrokes)
1:25 – ASPIRE TOWER (4/7, Unibet)
1:55 – MT LEINSTER (5/2, Bet365)
2:30 – GRAN GESTE (14/1, Coral)
3:00 – FAUGHEEN (13/8, Unibet)
3:30 – KEMBOY (7/4, William Hill)
4:00 – FITZHENRY (10/1, Paddy Power)
4:35 – CASTRA VETERA (3/1, Bet365)

12:55 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m2f

There is a lot to like about Listowel winner JEREMYS FLAME (10/1, Ladbrokes) despite her failing to add to her tally since that victory, although Gavin Cromwell’s charge has posted creditable efforts since which include a trio of runner-up efforts.

Since that win she has finished runner-up in Grade Three and Listed contests; but she posted an even better performance when chasing home the impressive Fiddlerontheroof in the recent Tolworth Hurdle, beaten six lengths but running on well and she might have finished closer had she not bungled the last hurdle.

This step up in trip on her handicap debut could unlock some further improvement in the Jeremy mare and an opening mark of 136 looks workable if she can run to a similar level as at Sandown. It wouldn’t come as a surprise then to see her firmly in the mix here.

1:25 – Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo) 2m

ASPIRE TOWER (4/7, Unibet) is 2-2 over hurdles since switching to Henry de Bromhead, posting impressive wins at Punchestown on his debut in November and then bolting up by a wide margin in the recent Grade Two Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle here during the Christmas Festival.

The Born To Sea gelding still looked green in that latter contest, but his inexperience didn’t stop him posting an eighteen lengths’ defeat of the reopposing Wolf Prince and he can only continue to improve with that latest experience under his belt.

The runner-up has won since to boost that form, but the Boxing Day places ought to be confirmed here and he can land a hat-trick of wins here and boost his Triumph Hurdle credentials.

Our Sunday Leopardstown best bets include Henry de Bromhead's Aspire Tower.

Henry de Bromhead can saddle a Leopardstown winner on Sunday.

1:55 – Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m

Easywork is one of a number of talented novices from the Gordon Elliott camp this term and the Network gelding is 3-3 this season; he ought to prove tough to beat, but Willie Mullins saddles three in opposition for a race he has won in six of the last seven years with the pick of the trio likely to be MT LEINSTER (5/2, Bet365) who has the services of Paul Townend here.

The Beat Hollow gelding boasts some really strong form in bumpers and although he was beaten behind Gordon Elliott’s rival on his hurdles debut at Gowran Park, he was conceding race-fitness to that rival at a time when many of the Closutton runners were needing their first outing.

He showed the benefit of that outing to readily win here on Boxing Day where he posted a nine lengths’ defeat of Entoucas with a subsequent winner further back in fifth. He remains a very good prospect over hurdles and he can improve to turn the tables on the Elliott runner here.

2:30 – William Fry Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+ 0-150) 3m

GRAN GESTE (14/1, Coral) is a lightly-raced sort over hurdles but he has shown a good level of ability in his career, winning at Navan on his hurdles debut back in December 2017 although he’s assumedly had problems since with a series of absences limiting his time on the track.

The Poliglote gelding made a pleasing return to action when scoring at Galway in October, beating Pivotal Flame by the better part of three lengths on his first start for almost eight months. That run was followed up by a very good third behind the reopposing The Jam Man, keeping on well over this trip at Navan in December but unable to quite get the front pair.

He crossed the line just over five lengths adrift with the front trio pulling ten lengths clear of the rest and he’s only been raised 3lbs for that run. He now meets his last-time conqueror on level terms when that one’s rider’s claim is taken into account and he could overturn that form here and resume winning ways.

3:00 – Flogas Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m5f

The stories of FAUGHEEN’s (13/8, Unibet) demise have been greatly exaggerated, and the Germany gelding is 2-2 over fences despite his late switch in discipline with successes at Punchestown and Limerick, the latter of which came in a Grade One contest.

Willie Mullins’ star thumped Samcro by ten lengths that day, readily coming clear of Gordon Elliott’s increasingly frustrating horse, and he sets a very stiff standard here having collected a tenth Grade One prize with that success.

He has rolled back the years since going over the larger obstacles and despite being a twelve-year old now he could continue to operate at the top of his game for a while yet in this sphere. This is likely to present a tougher test with Battleoverdoyen in oppositon and that rival is also unbeaten over fences.

That one though drops back in trip for the first time over fences and it could be that Willie Mullins’ charge just has too many guns for him at this distance, and the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner can make it a hat-trick of chase wins.

Faugheen features in our Leopardstown Sunday best bets

Faugheen can make it 3-3 over fences in the Flogas Novices’ Chase.

3:30 – Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m

KEMBOY (7/4, William Hill) faded into fourth in the recent Savills Chase won by the reopposing Delta Work here over the Christmas period, but Willie Mullins’ charge likely needed that run and should prove an altogether different proposition now.

The Voix Du Nord gelding won all four completed chase starts last term with his sole blip coming when unseating his rider at the first fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Three of those four wins came in Grade One company, ending with a defeat of Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo in the Punchestown Gold Cup last May.

Many of Willie Mullins’ runners had been seen to need their first run earlier in the campaign and that may well have been the case with Kemboy who went well for a long way on his return before folding behind his race-fit rivals and he ought to strip much fitter with that run under his belt.

Improvement is anticipated as a result and every chance he can get back to winning ways now with the cobwebs dusted off.

4:00 – Gaelic Plant Hire Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) (5yo+) 2m5f

There could be a big handip win to come from FITZHENRY (10/1, Paddy Power) who may appreciate the slightly less taxing test of stamina in the wake of excellent runner-up finishes in both the Troytown Chase and Paddy Power Chase on his last two starts.

The Flemensfirth gelding scored his last win over a similar trip to this at Naas back in February 2018, but he has acquitted himself well since over longer trips including in each of his last two starts the latter of which came at this venue when beaten just a half-length behind the fast-finishing Roaring Bull.

That one has since posted a creditable fifth in the recent Theystes Chase and Paul Nolan’s charge can continue to remain competitive despite a further 4lbs rise in the weights for that near-miss effort last time.

He has made the frame in both starts at this venue and while his new mark demands a shade more from him, the drop in trip could well prove a positive and he is taken to land this valuable prize.

Barry Geraghty can steer Fitzhenry to success at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Barry Geraghty can steer Fitzhenry to success at Leopardstown on Sunday.

4:35 – Coolmore N.H. Sires Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) (4-7yo) 2m

CASTRA VETERA (3/1, Bet365) looked a very useful prospect when bolting to a seven lengths’ defeat of the reopposing Carrigeen Lotus at Fairyhouse last month and Joseph O’Brien’s charge can improve for that first run to double her tally.

The Jeremy mare travelled powerfully throughout that race and ran down the leader in the last furlong to score readily. The runner-up has won since and also turns out here, but she was readily brushed aside by the selection who could find a big chunk of progress for that first run.

She gets 4lbs from the standard-setting triple-winner Bigbadandbeautiful which could prove decisive and she can end that one’s winning run with victory here under top amateur Tom Hamilton.

SUNDAY LEOPARDSTOWN BEST BETS AT A GLANCE

12:55 – JEREMYS FLAME (10/1, Ladbrokes)
1:25 – ASPIRE TOWER (4/7, Unibet)
1:55 – MT LEINSTER (5/2, Bet365)
2:30 – GRAN GESTE (14/1, Coral)
3:00 – FAUGHEEN (13/8, Unibet)
3:30 – KEMBOY (7/4, William Hill)
4:00 – FITZHENRY (10/1, Paddy Power)
4:35 – CASTRA VETERA (3/1, Bet365)

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