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Cask Mate and Riviere D’etel: leading fancies at the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend
UPDATED 6:25PM, FEB 3 2022
Our tipping experts give you an early steer for Dublin Racing Festival, which takes center stage at Leopardstown this weekend.
Read on to find out who David Jennings thinks might be “chucked in” on Sunday.
Bronn won a bumper at Ballinrobe last April when trained by Stuart Crawford and the form has been given a nice boost with the second and third going on to score since.
The five-year-old son of Notnowcato was better than the bare result when winning a maiden hurdle on his debut for Willie Mullins at Naas last month, showing greenness when wandering about in the home straight.
Bronn won by only three-quarters of a length but the third Flame Bearer subsequently won a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse by 12 lengths. Stepping up in trip on just his second start for the yard, he should take another big step forward. Adrian Wall, tipster
Patrick Ward & Company Solicitors Irish Arkle (2.10 Leopardstown), Saturday
Ferny Hollow’s absence is keenly felt in this Grade 1 highlight and it could create an opportunity for high-class mare Riviere D’etel to go one better than her top-level Christmas bid at the same track.
Only a length and a half separated the Gordon Elliott-trained five-year-old and Ferny Hollow when a creditable second in the Racing Post Novice Chase in December, and the experience she has picked up in this sphere in recent months should prove a valuable asset here.
This will be Riviere D’etel’s fifth chasing start, whereas Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam head to Leopardstown on the back of winning on their chasing debuts in beginners’ company. Blue Lord has been seen over fences only twice and nearly half of the obstacles were omitted due to low-lying sun at Naas last time.
Life is about to get tougher considering Riviere D’etel is without the four-year-old allowance she used in the early throes of the campaign, but she should still be improving and can bag a first Grade 1 win. Mark Boylan, reporter
Runners and riders for Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival
Paddy Power “I’m Never Going Back To The Office” Handicap Chase (3.50 Leopardstown), Saturday
Joseph O’Brien’s string has hit form at the perfect time and A Wave Of The Sea should relish a drop back in distance. He’s been subject of early market support, which is no surprise as he went close in a pair of major 3m handicaps in the autumn.
Later he finished second in the Munster National, where he perhaps lacked the finishing kick over a testing three miles. This is a big drop in trip, but he’s proven over this course and distance and was a winner over half a furlong further last season at Leopardstown.
Shane Fitzgerald’s 5lb claim effectively means he’s 2lb below his Munster National mark and he’s still unexposed over fences, especially at this distance. Owen Goulding, tipster
Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
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Three Stripe Life (left): arguably would have won the course-and-distance Grade 1 over Christmas but for a mistake at the second-last
Three Stripe Life arguably would have won the course-and-distance Grade 1 over Christmas had he not fluffed the second-last. He’s got more than eight lengths to make up with Sir Gerhard on their bumper form, but Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old has yet to produce anything special over hurdles.
He’ll get his chance here, but 5-1 is pretty fair about the year-younger Three Stripe Life considering what he’s shown over the smaller obstacles so far, and the forecast overnight rain will help his chance. He can take advantage were the favorite to fail. James Hill, tipster
Noel Meade won the Liffey Handicap Hurdle with Glencloud in 1993 when it was known as the Ladbroke Hurdle and again in 2017 when it was called the Coral.ie Hurdle, and he can win it again on Sunday with Cask Mate who looks potentially chucked in off 139.
The lightly raced nine-year-old was beaten eight lengths by Zanahiyr on his most recent start at Down Royal but that margin of defeat might have been halved had he not clattered the second-last. Zanahiyr is now rated 159 and Cask Mate was only in receipt of 5lb that day. In fact, I’m not even sure Cask Mate was at his best that day and neither did Sean Flanagan.
He was second to Ballyadam in the Royal Bond last season and for a Grade 1 runner-up to be running in his first handicap off such an attractive mark has got me giddy.
His 100-day absence since Down Royal is of no real concern as he has won on the back of breaks of 149 days, 1020 days and 234 days in the past. He certainly goes well fresh.
The early 16-1 available about him has long dried up but 8-1 remains more than fair as I feel he has about 10lb up his sleeve. Granted luck in running and a clean round of jumping, he should take a lot of beating. David Jennings, deputy Ireland editor
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