Sunday marks Day 2 of the Dublin Racing Festival and it’s littered with some big names all across the card. The first Grade 1 is for the juveniles and it sees a re-match between the very well touted Sir Eric and Tiger Tap Tap. Only a neck separated the pair in a maiden hurdle over Christmas and although this represents a big step up in class for both horses, they looked a cut above their rivals on that occasion. Sir Eric was a classy individual on the flat and I think he can confirm his superiority over the Willie Mullins trained runner. Coeur Sublime is one of the most experienced runners in the field and should fill the placings.
Selection: Sir Eric
Willie Mullins looks to hold all the aces in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle, with four runners all holding leading claims. Klassical Dream was a nice winner on Irish debut and is the choice of Ruby Walsh, which speaks volumes. Paul Townend rides what looks like the stable second string in Aramon, who is one of the more experienced having taken a Grade 1 in impressive fashion over Christmas. There isn’t much to split the Mullins runners but slight preference is for Klassical Dream.
Gordon Elliott is unsurprisingly responsible for the biggest danger to the Mullins bandwagon in this with Vision D’honneur. The French-bred five-year-old looked very smart when winning his maiden hurdle when last seen and could improve past the Mullins contingent.
Selection: Klassical Dream
The Flogas Novice Chase sees last season’s Pertemps winner Delta Work who has really taken his form to a new level this season since tackling larger obstacles., put his unbeaten record on the line. He has already won a brace of Grade 1’s this season and looks very exciting. Warren Greatrex brings over Le Bague Au Roi for this Grade 1 contest and the mare has bee foot perfect this season including when taking the grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton over the festive period. She is in receipt of seven pounds from all her rivals which should bring her into the reckoning.
The other interesting runner in the field is Winter Escape who continues to improve over fences. He was smart horse over fences for Alan King highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the 2017 County Hurdle. Winter Escape is now under the care of Aidan Howard and travelled supremely well to win a Grade 3 contest when last seen if he continues his progression then he could surprise here.
Selection: Winter Escape
The Irish Gold Cup produced the HRI ride of the season award for last season when Derek O’Connor swooped late to get Edwulf up on the line. Joseph O’Brien’s charge bids for back to back victories in the race but hasn’t shown the same level of form since then and needs to recapture that form to feature.
Road To Respect was slightly unlucky in the Savills Chase, where he stumbled 3 out until running on well behind Kemboy and Monalee. I fully expect him to reverse the form with Henry De Bromheads charge and can’t see anything being good enough to beat him.
Al Boum Photo will be many people’s idea of the winner having beat a strong-looking field in a listed event at Tramore but in all reality, I think he will struggle in this better company and holds place chances at best.
Selection: Road To Respect