With the Dublin Racing Festival 2022 well underway, it’s time to turn our attention to Day 2. As the crowds return to a very blustery Leopardstown, who will battle the elements to take the top prizes in racing?
Day 1 saw Willie Mullins train four winners but there was a surprise in the Irish Gold Cup. Race favourite Minella Indo, trained by Henry De Bromhead, was well beaten by the 18/1 Conflated from Gordon Elliott. Ridden by Davy Russell, it was the yard’s only win of the day.
Will Mullins dominate again on Day 2 and who will be able to capitalise when it comes to Cheltenham in a few weeks time?
Here are our tips for Day 2 of the Dublin Racing Festival 2022.
12-45 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) – 2 Miles, 1 ½ Furlongs
Party Central represents a stable that won this two years ago and comes here having won a listed race at Punchestown at the beginning of December.
She travelled well throughout the race but came under a drive in the closing stages to just get the first run on Humble Glory and another of todays’ runners in Banntown Girl.
Party Central has won at trips ranging from two to two-and-a-half miles so this should be well within her comfort zone.
Davy Russell knows her inside out and has partnered her to victory in two of her last three starts. He should know exactly what he has beneath him and when to push the buttons.
Lunar Display was a good third in a Grade Three novice event at Fairyhouse just a couple of weeks ago. As a result, she has been raised another five pounds here and has to concede a fair bit of weight to quite a few rivals.
This is her ninth race since October and Joseph O’Brien will be praying that the wheels don’t fall off.
Must Be Obeyed was a strong eight length winner over Robyndeglory at Punchestown last time. That made up for her disappointing seasonal reappearance where she finished mid pack behind Brandy Love at Naas.
She will need to progress again but that can’t be ruled out. What is off-putting is the drop back in trip as she seemed to improve for the extra distance last time.
SELECTION: PARTY CENTRAL
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Heaven Help Us 7 10-5 Richard Condon 16/1 (Paul Hennessy)
- 2020 Black Tears 6 11-4 D Russell 14/1 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2019 Sassy Diva 8 10-7 Donagh Meyler 10/3Fav (Shane Crowley)
- 2018 Alletrix 5 10-3 Robbie Power 4/1Fav (Mrs J Harrington)
- 2017 Who’s That 9 10-3 Rachael Blackmore 9/2 (Liam P Cusack)
- 2016 Who’s That 8 10-5 Sean McDermott 12/1 (Liam P Cusack)
- 2015 Who’s That 7 9-12 Mark Enright 20/1 (Liam P Cusack)
1-20 Ladbrokes Novice Chase – 2 Miles, 5 Furlongs 61yds
Galopin Des Champs should prove a tough nut to crack here with him being the only course and distance winner in the field.
He has won his last three starts, the most recent of which was his chasing debut and resulted in a twenty-two length demolition of Aint That A Shame.
He is bound to come on in leaps and bounds for that run and having proven himself over hurdles at Cheltenham and Punchestown, he is clearly a high calibre horse.
Willie Mullins has taken the last two renewals of this race with both Faugheen and Monkfish. He has to have every chance of acquiring the hat-trick given that his inmate has proven stamina of up to three miles.
The form has also received a significant boost following the victory of Flouer at Fairyhouse just last week.
Master McShee improved from his first to second start over the larger obstacles by taking the Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick last time. He just put his head in front at the right time to deny Farouk D’Alene by a short head.
That looked an exceptionally weak race for the grade and he will need to up his game again here to see off the highly regarded Galopin Des Champs.
Gaillard De Mesnil and Capodanno have been ignored by Paul Townend in preference of Galopin Des Champs. They are both useful on their day but should be firmly put in their place here.
Noel Meade has a decent record in this race and his Beacon Edge has adapted well to chasing. He wore down the front running Gabynako at Fairyhouse last time and connections will be praying that a similar outcome plays out here.
He cannot be discounted and will be there to pick up the pieces should anything unfortunate happen to the selection.
SELECTION: GALOPIN DES CHAMPS
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Monkfish 7 11-12 P Townend 1/2Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Faugheen 12 11-10 P Townend 13/8 (WP Mullins)
- 2019 La Bague Au Roi 6 11-3 R Johnson 10/11 (Warren Greatrex)
- 2018 Monalee 7 11-10 N Fehily 11/4 (Henry De Bromhead)
- 2017 Disko 6 11-10 Sean Flanagan 6/1 (Noel Meade)
- 2016 Outlander 8 11-10 BJ Cooper 13/8 (WP Mullins)
- 2015 Apache Stronghold 7 11-10 Paul Carberry 9/2 (Noel Meade)
1-20 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase – 2 Miles, 1 Furlongs 43yds
Chacun Pour Soi has a reputation to redeem following a lacklustre performance at Sandown on his seasonal reappearance.
It is becoming quite clear following two unsuccessful trips to England, that he needs to stay on home soil.
He cannot in all seriousness be backed at a short price, despite the fact he is returning to defend his crown on a track that suits.
Greaneteen hammered him in the Tingle Creek and it is extremely difficult to see Chacun Pour Soi reversing that form here.
The longer that last race went, the better Greaneteen’s jumping got. He certainly had plenty more in the tank at the finish line and he has to be feared by all here.
His run behind the brilliant Shishkin in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton was another solid effort
Captain Guinness is a law unto himself but if on a going day he could well finish closer to Greaneteen here. He is the youngest in this line up and has only had two runs so far this season.
Rachael Blackmore won a Grade Three race at Naas on him back in November before his run at Sandown, but he will need to put his best foot forward here.
Dunvegan is a talented handicapper on his day and looks to be somewhat out of his depth here.
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Chacun Pour Soi 9 11-12 P Townend 2/5Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Chacun Pour Soi 8 11-10 P Townend 6/5 Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2019 Min 8 11-10 Ruby Walsh 4/9Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2018 Min 7 11-10 Ruby Walsh 11/8 (WP Mullins)
2-25 Bulmers Secret Orchard Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) – 2 Miles, 5 Furlongs 61yds
Only two horses in the last decade have carried more that eleven stone to win this race so it often pays to side with consistent sorts off relatively low weights.
Gallant John Joe could well prove a typical sort here. The nine-year-old son of Presenting has mixed it against the likes of Bob Olinger and Ferny Hollow so far this season and he has to be of interest now dropping into handicap company.
It is worth remembering that two seasons ago he came to within half-a-length of landing a Grade Three at Naas. This is his first run in a chasing handicap and he looks well treated off his current mark.
The Grand National winning Minella Times will find this a lot more to his liking than the Grade One in which he fell at Punchestown. Rachael Blackmore comes in for the ride and the pair have to give weight away all around.
Fakir D’Alene has won his last two races in good style but will need a lifetime best to land the hat-trick here. Jack Kennedy will need to be at his very best to keep the sequence intact.
Willie Mullins bids to get a first win in this race and Blackbow has to have strong claims. He was a decent second to Dunvegan on his seasonal reappearance last month and is entitled to improve for the run.
This is only his second ever appearance in a handicap and he commands respect despite his heavy weight burden.
Connections of Gallant John Joe will be hoping that the rain stays away as all of his best form has come when good is in the official going description. Barry Browne gets on well with him and they have to have every chance here.
SELECTION: GALLANT JOHN JOE E/W
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Off You Go 8 10-8 Mark Walsh 10/1 (Charles Byrnes)
- 2020 Glamorgan Duke 7 9-11 Conor Maxwell 33/1 (Paul Gilligan)
- 2019 Whisperinthebreeze 6 10-1 Paddy Kennedy 7/1 (Mrs J Harrington)
- 2018 Last Goodbye 7 10-7 Adam Short 12/1 (Liz Doyle)
- 2017 A Toi Phil 7 10-13 JW Kennedy 7/2 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2016 Empire Of Dirt 9 10-4 Jonathan Moore 8/1 (Colm Murphy)
- 2015 Foxrock 7 11-8 Adrian Heskin 6/1 (Ted Walsh)
3:00 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle – 2 Miles
Honeysuckle looked as good as ever when extending her unbeaten run to thirteen on her seasonal debut at Fairyhouse.
She is versatile regarding trip as she has won multiple Grade One races over as far as two-and-a-half miles.
The ground all comes as one to her and that last run which saw her inflict an eight length win over Ronald Pump should have cleared away any lingering cobwebs.
Rachael Blackmore and the wonder-mare have an excellent partnership and they should take all the beating here once again as they ponder another crack at the Cheltenham version next month.
Zanahiyr won on his seasonal reappearance in a Grade Two race at Down Royal back in October. He has been fairly well put in his place subsequently including when beaten by Sharjah here over the course and distance last time.
He lacks the consistency of Honeysuckle and that can prove the difference.
Saint Roi also made his seasonal reappearance in that last race behind Sharjah and Zanahiyr.
I can see him reversing the form with the Gordon Elliott runner but that will still not be good enough to beat the current champion.
He has been beaten here the last three times he has raced at Leopardstown and his task looks no easier here.
3-35 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle – 2 Miles
Sir Gerhard should prove far too strong here for his rivals following a sparkling eight length win over Highland Charge over this course and distance on Boxing Day.
The Cheveley Park owned runner has only met with defeat once in his career and that came at Punchestown last year in the Champion Bumper.
The form of that last race is beginning to work out as Ash Tree Lad who was almost ten lengths behind him has come out and shed his maiden since.
Sir Gerhard is fully entitled to come on for that first run of the season as he warms up for a likely crack at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.
Three Stripe Life is no slouch and won his maiden when beating Hans Gruber at Fairyhouse back in November.
He was then upped in class to contest the Future Champions Novice Hurdle over this course and distance last time and he was firmly put away by his better fancied stablemate in Mighty Potter.
Willie Mullins’ second string won impressively at Tramore last time. Like the selection he ran out an easy winner. The form of the race is not really working out to be as strong as it could have though and he may well have to settle for a place at best here.
SELECTION: SIR GERHARD
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Appreciate It 7 11-12 P Townend 1/3Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Asterion Forlonge 6 11-10 Danny Mullins 4/1(WP Mullins)
- 2019 Klassical Dream 5 11-9 Ruby Walsh 9/4 (WP Mullins)
- 2018 Samcro 6 11-10 JW Kennedy 4/6Fav (Gordon Elliott)
- 2017 Bacardys 6 11-10 Patrick Mullins 12/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2016 Bleu Et Rouge 5 11-9 Barry Geraghty 11/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2015 Nichols Canyon 5 11-9 Ruby Walsh 9/2 (WP Mullins)