When all of the hopefuls arrive at Prestbury Park in March, it will be on the back of a well thought out and planned prep season. Part of that is at the Dublin Racing Festival which, similar to other huge racing meetings, attracts the stars of the horse racing world.
As such it is always a smart decision to have a look at which horses are running and who is tipped to do well. Not least because it can guide you in your Cheltenham selections.
Of course, there are always one or two surprises and some horses will run far better than expected. So here we have our guide to the Dublin Racing Festival 2022. Which horses should you watch and who do we think will ultimately run the best race?
1-05 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Cheltenham Bonus for Stable Staff’ Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2 Miles, 6 Furlongs
It usually takes a horse with proven stamina to land this race and Willie Mullins has somewhat of a monopoly on the prize.
The master of Closutton has sent out seven winners of this race in the last ten years including last years’ winner in Gaillard Du Mesnil.
He runs a few interesting types here in the shapes of the unbeaten Bronn, Whatdeawant and Minella Cocooner.
The latter looks the most promising of the trio despite Paul Townend opting to ride Bronn.
All three will need to step up on what they have shown so far but Minella Cocooner really did take the eye when coasting home over two-and-a-half miles at Navan.
The form has taken a boost with the subsequent of the runner-up, My Design who got up in the shadows of the post at Fairyhouse just a couple of weeks ago.
Hollow Games has won a Grade Three at Navan just prior to Christmas but his form took a knock when he was only third to stablemate Ginto at Naas last month.
On the basis of that run Grand Jury has the beating of him and is expected to confirm the form for Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead.
Eric Bloodaxe is proven over a trip slightly longer than this and looks a viable each way option. He struck in a Grade Two at Limerick just after Christmas and won that race by almost eight lengths.
Bryan Cooper retains the ride on the Gigginstown representative and he looks solid each way material on ground he should enjoy.
SELECTION: ERIC BLOODAXE E/W @7/1
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Gaillard Du Mesnil 5 11-10 P Townend 13/8Fav (W P Mullins)
- 2020 Latest Exhibition 7 11-10 B J Cooper 7/2 (Paul Nolan)
- 2019 Commander Of Fleet 5 11-8 J W Kennedy 13/2 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2018 Tower Bridge 5 11-8 J J Slevin 25/1 (Joseph Patrick O’Brien)
- 2017 Let’s Dance 5 10-10 R Walsh 8/11Fav (W P Mullins)
- 2016 A Toi Phil 6 11-3 B J Cooper 6/4Fav (W P Mullins)
- 2015 Outlander 7 11-3 P Townend 5/1 (W P Mullins)
1-35 Racing TV 12 Per Month This Weekend Only Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)– 2 Miles
Quilixios ran out an easy winner of this race for Gordon Elliott last year prior to his subsequent success in the Triumph Hurdle. Elliott looks to have another tailor made individual for the race in Fil Dor.
The grey gelding by Doctor Dino has been ultra-impressive in maintaining his unbeaten record by winning at Down Royal on debut and then following up at Fairyhouse in a juvenile Grade 3 and subsequently the Grade 2 Knight Frank Hurdle at Leopardstown.
He certainly seems to act better on rain softened ground, so expect a plunge on him should the rains descend this weekend.
Elliott should have a good line on the form of Vauban trained by Willie Mullins. His Pied Piper trounced a relatively good field at Cheltenham just last weekend.
Vauban is sure to come on for that recent run but he lacks the experience of the selection, despite his trainer being far more than capable of producing him right on the day.
Icare Allen has had his form boosted by a couple of also rans when taking his maiden back in December. Both Man O Work and Justicialism have come out to win since.
The Tide Turns is a stablemate of the selection but will need to improve again despite Champion Green coming out to frank the form.
SELECTION: FIL DOR
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Quilixios 4 11-2 JW Kennedy 4/6Fav (Gordon Elliott)
- 2020 A Wave Of The Sea 4 11-0 BJ Geraghty 12/1 (Joseph Patrick O’Brien)
- 2019 Sir Erec 4 11-0 M Walsh 13/8 (Joseph Patrick O’Brien)
- 2018 Mr Adjudicator 4 11-0 P Townend 3/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2017 Mega Fortune 4 11-0 D Russell 9/2 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2016 Footpad 4 11-0 Danny Mullins 14/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2015 Petite Parisienne 4 10-7 BJ Cooper 6/1 (WP Mullins)
2-10 Patrick Ward & Co Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) – 2 Miles, 1 Furlong 43yds
Willie Mullins knows exactly the type of horse that it takes to win this race having won four of the last seven renewals.
Bidding to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Energumene, Footpad, Douvan and Un De Sceaux, the yard’s number one string this time appears to be the progressive Blue Lord.
He remains unbeaten following two wins in novice company at Fairyhouse and Naas winning the most recent by twenty lengths.
He has clearly improved since making the switch to the larger obstacles and Paul Townend is clearly confident he can take the step up to Grade One company in his stride.
He prefers his mount to Saint Sam and Haut En Couleurs and the Simon Munir and Isaac Soude runner commands utmost respect.
Riviere D’etel looks certain to give him most to think about as she gets the mares’ allowance. Having won three races already this season, the grey five-year-old found only Ferny Hollow one-and-a-half lengths too strong at this track last time.
The third placed Couer Sublime has come out to frank the form subsequently and the Gordon Elliott runner has to warrant consideration. That is excellent form and she may well prove to have too many answers here.
SELECTION: RIVIERE D’ETEL
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Energumene 7 11-12 P Townend 5/6 (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Notebook 7 11-10 Rachael Blackmore 5/4 (Henry De Bromhead)
- 2019 Le Richebourg 6 11-10 M Walsh 11/10Fav (Joseph Patrick O’Brien)
- 2018 Footpad 6 11-10 P Townend 4/9Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2017 Some Plan 9 11-12 D Russell 10/3 (Henry De Bromhead)
- 2016 Douvan 6 11-12 Ruby Walsh 1/14Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2015 Un De Sceaux 7 11-12 Ruby Walsh 8/11Fav (WP Mullins)
2-45 Paddy Power I’d Love A Can But Pints Are Cheaper Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) – 3 Miles
As competitive a handicap that you will find on any card and this year is no exception. Former winners Dallas Des Pictons and Maze Runner line up in this twenty-four runner race.
Panda Boy is likely to be well fancied as he rolled home here over the course and distance at decent odds of 16/1 just after Christmas.
Whilst not completely fluent at the last flight, the five-year-old had too much in- hand for the likes of the re-opposing A Great View and Pour Pavore and Authorized Art. As a consequence, he gets burdened with 11 stone 6lbs and that could prove his undoing.
Only one horse has won this carrying more than 11 stone since the inception of the race in 2015, so it is probably best to stick to the lower weights in the handicap.
The one who catches the eye most here is Rightplacerightime and gets in off bottom weight. Emmet Mullins is a shrewd trainer when it comes to placing his horses and the fact he has booked Rachael Blackmore here is certainly noteworthy.
The horses’ only win came at this trip at Fairyhouse back in November when partnered by Brian Hayes. He was raised almost a stone for that win when sent over to Haydock to contest a Grade 3 race.
He was backed into favouritism that day but probably wasn’t keen on the decent ground and may have had legitimate travel excuses.
Back on home soil today he looks to have a featherweight and no surprise to see him well in the mix. Willie Mullins has taken this prize on several occasions but his runner here look up against it.
Maze Runner, Authorized Art, Dark Voyager, Captain Kangaroo all look woefully out of form.
Priory Park has won his last two races over two-and-a-half miles but it is unclear whether he will have the stamina for the extra half-mile. The Little Yank has never won a chase and it is hard to see that changing here.
SELECTION: RIGHTPLACERIGHTIME (E/W) @ 9/1
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Maze Runner 6 9-13 Conor McNamara 40/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Treacyenniscorthy 8 10-6 Kevin Brouder 8/1 (Robert Widger)
- 2019 Dallas Des Pictons 6 10-12 JW Kennedy 7/2 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2018 Total Recall 9 10-4 P Townend 5/6Fav (WP Mullins)
- 2017 Oscar Sam 8 11-10 Robbie Power 7/1 (Mrs J Harrington)
- 2016 Golan Lodge 7 10-7 JW Kennedy 5/1 (Paul Nolan)
- 2015 Mydor 5 10-2 Ruby Walsh 9/4 (Tony Martin)
3-15 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1) – 3 Miles, 61 yds.
With the likes of Minella Indo and Asterion Forlonge a law unto themselves these days, it may be best to stay towards the head of the market in this feature race.
Kemboy represents Willie Mullins who has taken the trophy home in two of the last three seasons, but he may have to give way this year with the evergreen Frodon lined up in opposition.
Paul Nicholls’ gallant ten-year-old showed he was made of stern stuff when winning at Down Royal on his seasonal reappearance.
Kept away from the track for two months, he was consistently pestered for the lead in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. Kept out wide throughout he had genuine reasons for tiring in the closing stages as the likes of Tornado Flyer picked up the pieces.
Bryony Frost enjoys a remarkable relationship with her willing partner and they have to be seriously considered in a race where the flat track and with a little more luck in running they will command utmost respect.
Kemboy is a remarkable character but hasn’t won in twelve months and based on his recent meeting with Galvin, it is Frodon who should come out on top. All the others look to be playing for place money at best.
Previous Race Winners
- 2021 Kemboy 9 11-12 Danny Mullins 11/4 (WP Mullins)
- 2020 Delta Work 7 11-10 JW Kennedy 5/2 (Gordon Elliott)
- 2019 Bellshill 9 11-10 Ruby Walsh 2/1 (WP Mullins)
- 2018 Edwulf 9 11-10 Derek O’Connor 33/1 (Joseph Patrick O’Brien)
- 2017 Sizing John 7 11-10 Robbie Power 10/3 (Mrs J Harrington)
- 2016 Carlingford Lough 10 11-10 Mark Walsh 20/1 (John Kiely)
- 2015 Carlingford Lough 9 11-10 AP McCoy 4/1 (John Kiely)