Jpunters had the upper hand at last year’s Dublin Racing Festival, with seven favorites and a second favorite winning all eight freshman events, and Honeysuckle (3.00) will be a short price to retain his unbeaten record in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday, on what promises to be another afternoon of market leaders dominating.
Rachael Blackmore’s mount will start at around 1-3 and although this is his first encounter with Zanahiyr, one of last season’s best juveniles, he has 6 pounds to find on official odds and the runner from Henry de Bromhead also receives a 7-pound mare allowance. .
Saint Roi, meanwhile, was 21 points behind Honeysuckle 12 months ago and any win other than a 14th straight victory for Honeysuckle will be as much of a surprise as it is a disappointment.
Leopardstown 1.20Field Scamp could hardly have done more on his hunting debut at the Christmas meeting here, winning by 22 lengths with any amount in hand.
Musselburgh 1.32inca prince has made rapid progress since joining Ruth Jefferson in the fall and would be a match for likely favorite Impulsive One if he replicated the form of one of his recent wins.
Leopardstown 1.50 The bare shape of Tingle Creek at Sandown in December gives EachForSelf plenty to find with Greeneteen, but it’s likely to be a different proposition on its own turf.
Musselburgh 2.05 Few choices here between promising novices Since the first day and Restandbethankful, but Donald McCain’s runner remains undefeated over hurdles and may have the most room for improvement.
Leopardstown 2.25 It’s hard to find a rider without some sort of luck in this fiercely competitive handicap pursuit. Minella Times, winner of last season’s Grand National, will get plenty of attention ahead of the release of this year’s Aintree weights later this month, while Samcro and The Shunter are other household names in the field of 17 men, but rebel gold,a close second at Limerick in December in a race run in good time, may be the price pick around 16-1.
Musselburgh 2.40Nephew took a 13-pound rise in weight after his last success at Southwell, but won with any amount in hand there and even his new mark may underestimate his potential to stay on the road.
Musselburgh 3.15 the vanguard Sarasota Star has been ahead in the closing stages in his last two starts, but he remains on a high and better ground here could make all the difference.
Leopardstown 3.35 Sir Gerhard is the only freshman favorite on Sunday’s card who could start against the tide, and three band life looks too expensive at around 9-2 to beat him. Gordon Elliott’s rider reportedly came close to beating his stable mate Mighty Potter in a first year at the Christmas meeting, but for a mistake of two and will set the bar high for Sir Gerhard, winner of the Champion Bumper of the last year, only his second to start the hurdles again.