Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown – Lucky 15 Selections

This weekend sees the Cheltenham trials weekend for the Irish in the Dublin Racing Festival. With eight Grade One’s and big names on show it looks set to be a thrilling weekend as James Watson picks out his lucky 15.

Dublin Racing Festival Tips Saturday

1:05 Bronn 6/1
2:10 Saint Sam 9/2
3:15 Asterion Forlonge 4/1
3:50 Exit Poll 4/1

To kickstart the weekend we see the Nathaniel Lacey & Partners Novice Hurdle at 1:05. An intriguing look to the race that often has a competitive look with nice horses competing. The horse who takes my eye here is the Willie Mullins trained BRONN. Having only the two starts, he has been faultless so far in winning a bumper and maiden hurdle.

He made his first appearance in a bumper at Ballinrobe when winning comfortably two and a quarter lengths.

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The horses he beat that day weren’t too bad either with two subsequent winners in behind. On his first time over hurdles for new connections he got the better KILLER MODE and FLAME BEARER with the latter scooting up last weekend. BRONN led that day and looked under pressure with two to jump.

However he responded to the pressure very well over distance that wouldn’t have normally of suited him. Things got a bit tight late on as he got in a bit of a scrap with the third at the second last but he got going again when given a tap behind the saddle. He showed a fair amount of ‘greeness’ that day and his raw ability got him home.

This step up in trip will most likely suit and although he is less experience than the other I really liked what he did that day and can only think he would improve from that.

My second selection comes in the Irish Arkle which looks a big indicator on the Festival. Willie Mullins saddles three of the six rivals and I fancy his outsider of the three SAINT SAM.

The five year old made an exemplary start to his chasing career winning by nine lengths beating THEDEVILSCOACHMAN.

His jumping was a key asset that day as he dominated from the front and really attacked his fences. He got in a nice rhythm out in front and nothing ever got to him. Rachael Blackmore is booked for the ride for the first time aboard him and hopefully she can get him in a nice tempo in front and dominate the race.

My penultimate fancy comes in the Irish Gold Cup. I can’t believe I’m about to write this but I believe ASTERION FORLONGE has a great chance of winning the race. The unpredictable eight year old has had a chequered couple of years over obstacles with many odd jumping tendencies but this year has really got his act together for 75% of the race.

He unseated jockey Brian Cooper first time out this year when travelling the best in the John Durkan when unshipping him three out.

I also believe he would have won the King George if he’d a stayed on his feet when jumping the last just four lengths behind eventual winner and stable companion TORNADO FLYER. Apart his unseat and fall, he’s been running very creditably up to the points and think he brings the best form into the race from this season.

If his jumping holds up I believe he’s got the most progression out of the field and will go close if he stays on his feet.

My final selection will come in the 3:50 in the two mile and one handicap chase. EXIT POLL had been on the go since the summer and held his form really well progressing eight pounds in the handicap including winning a Grade Three.

His record when running first time out after a break is what interests me with two wins when being off for a short break.

Those wins have been in good races and I’ll be expecting to take another step forward for this break and think at 4/1 is a very fair price.

Jack Foley takes a very valuable five pounds off his back in what looks to be a competitive handicap but he may be classier than these.