Day One Dublin Racing Festival Preview 2022

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 13:05
Davy Russell

Hollow Games

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: 140
Days: 34

The first race of the Dublin Racing Festival is the Grade One Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors "50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff" Nov Hurdle and we have a strong fancy to start the day.

The six year old Hollow Games for Gordon Elliott lost his unbeaten streak last time out but we believe he can get back to winning ways in this one.

He was bought by the well known Bective Stud after absolutely bolting up in a three mile point to point at Turtulla in Ireland.

Fetching £255,000, he was given to Elliott and was first seen in a bumper at Punchestown over two miles and he hosed up by seven lengths.

The son of Beat Hollow was then sent to Leopardstown over Christmas when making it back to back wins, seeing off a nice type for Willie Mullins.

Sent hurdling this term he has been seen three times winning his first two events in good style, firstly at Down Royal and then in Grade Three company at Navan.

Last time out he stepped up to Grade One company in the Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle and was well beaten by stablemate Ginto.

He hit traffic in running that day and stayed on well to finish third and the longer trip should suit massively.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 13:35
Paul Townend


J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
Days: 36

Next up is another cracking Grade One with the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and it looks a match race with the two at the top of the market.

We are siding with the Willie Mullins trained Vauban who has less form to go off but looks to be the horse with the most potential.

Being bought by Rich Ricci from France after four decent runs on the flat, he was given to Mullins and made his hurdles debut around Christmas time.

He took on the ex John Gosden horse Pied Piper and went down by half a length in heavy ground, but the Gordon Elliott Juvenile has since gone on to bolt up in a Grade Two at Cheltenham.

Fil Dor looks a very smart gelding winning all three of his events to date, getting better with each run but we believe Vauban is the better value in the race.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 14:10
Paul Townend

Blue Lord

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 11-12
Days: 34

The Grade One's keep coming and next is the Irish Arkle Novice Chase and Blue Lord for Willie Mullins is a seven year old that has turned into a superb animal over fences this term.

Owned by Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, he was a French exploit that was bought and moved over to Ireland, having his first run over hurdles in November 2020 when landing a Maiden Hurdle with ease.

Finishing second to Bob Olinger on his second start in the Lawlor's Of Naas Grade One, he then went to the DRF and finished a good third behind stablemate Appreciate It in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.

He was then set for second again behind Appreciate It at the Cheltenham festival in the Supreme before falling, but he stayed on his hooves for his final run at the Punchestown festival when third behind Echoes In Rain.

Although a very smart horse over hurdles he has looked super impressive on both his starts over fences, winning on debut by close to six lengths and then backing that up last time out at Naas by 20 lengths.

It is unknown what he has beat to date but he has been mightily impressive and is the right favourite for this event.

One to beat.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 14:45
J J Slevin

Panda Boy

J: J J Slevin
T: Martin Brassil
Age: 6
Weight: 11-6
OR: 136
Days: 39

The first handicap event of the afternoon is the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle over three miles and we can't look past Panda Boy for Martin Brassil.

The six year old won a novice hurdle event on debut back in March 2021 at Punchestown over 2m4f but then went on to slightly struggle in his next two runs moved up to handicap company.

He has been a much better horse this term on his two runs, needing his first run over 2m4f at Naas, but when moved up to three miles last time out went on to bolt up over course and distance in a competitive handicap hurdle.

Moved up 8lb for that win he looked to have plenty in hand and if handling the quicker ground looks a good each way bet.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 15:15
B J Cooper

Asterion Forlonge

J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 164
Days: 41

The feature race of the first day is the Grade One Irish Gold Cup and we are taking a punt on the quirky Asterion Forlonge who is due to go close in a race like this.

The eight year old holds all the ability in the world but has failed to complete many races due to jumping errors when going well.

Being a smart hurdler, winning the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at this meeting in 2020 and then finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, he looks a better chaser even though he has his problems.

Last season he was very frustrating when winning on debut at Punchestown but then found his jumping to not be up to scratch and it cost him in tough events.

Towards the back end of last term he got back on track, finishing third in the Marsh Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, before again placing in a Grade One at Fairyhouse.

He rounded off the season winning a valuable handicap by 14 lengths, jumping lovely and showing just how classy he can be.

This term he has been his frustrating self, unseating his rider when going well in the Grade One John Durkan at Punchestown and then last time out when looking to have a big chance in the Grade One King George at Kempton, he fell at the last.

Showing he stays this trip very well, he is worth another go at the prices if being well since the fall.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 15:50
Shane Fitzgerald

A Wave Of The Sea

J: Shane Fitzgerald
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: 142
Days: 40

One of our bigger priced runners on the afternoon comes in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase and A Wave Of The Sea who won the race last year can go well again.

The gelding seems to be primed for this time of year every season and although 9lb higher than the mark he won off last year, he has recently shown he can run with this weight.

Having found things tough since winning this event being tried over three miles and it not working, two starts ago he bounced back to form off a mark of 139, finishing second at Limerick.

Having fell last time out in the Paddy Power Chase over Christmas, he now drops back massively in trip which should suit and only being a six year old he should have plenty of improvement left in him.

He is a risky proposition but does have an each way angle into the race.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 16:25
Mr P W Mullins

Facile Vega

J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-11
Days: 41

The final event of the afternoon is the Grade Two Goffs Future Stars INH Flat Race and we can't look past the favourite Facile Vega for Willie Mullins.

The exceptionally bred son of Walk In The Park out of six time Mares Hurdle winner Quevega made an emphatic bumper debut over course and distance at Christmas, winning by an eased down six lengths.

That run visually and on the clock was impressive and it will take a monster performance to beat him if he comes in the same form.


James Mackie | @JMackieRacing