If the weather doesn’t play havoc with Saturday’s racing, there’s a fantastic triple-header to look forward to from Leopardstown, Sandown, and Lingfield. Leopardstown is staging the first day of its two-day Dublin Racing Festival and we’ve free tips for the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Dublin Chase.
There’s also top-class jumping action at Sandown where we have tips for the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chases and the Heroes Handicap Hurdle. You can also watch some great all-weather flat racing at Lingfield, where we have a tip for the Winter Derby Trial.
(Irish race times may be subject to change)
Melon and Petit Mouchoir would be dangerous in the Irish Champion Hurdle if in anything like their best form, but that’s a big ask after they both finished behind Supasundae in the Ryanair Hurdle over course and distance at Christmas. In turn, Supasundae had finished 20-lengths behind Apple’s Jade on his previous start. That was over further, but Apple’s Jade would have also had him beaten at two-miles that day. The mare is probably better over further, but she’s won all three of her starts at Leopardstown including one over this trip. In the form of her life so far this season, she can hopefully extend her winning run, with connections perhaps considering running her in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival now Samcro has been ruled out.
Irish Champion Hurdle Free Tip:
Apple’s Jade @ 2.10 BetVictor, Bet365, 10Bet, SkyBet
The 2019 Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase is a fascinating contest, with the likes of Lostintranslation and Defi Du Seuil closely matched on their running last time, whilst Dell Oro and Mulcahys Hill have untapped potential. However, Vinndication looks a potential top-class chaser in the making. Having beaten the high-class Western Ryder and Champ over hurdles, he’s made a seamless transition to fences. He never seems to win by far but leaves the impression he could find plenty of improvement, if needed.
Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase Free Tip:
Vinndication @ 2.88 BetVictor, SkyBet, WilliamHill
There’s no doubt that Wissahickon deserves to be favourite for the Winter Derby Trial but, at the weights, Big Country has a much better chance than when finishing behind the favourite last time over course and distance.
Big Country had to concede 5lb to the favourite last time, whilst he was also trying to concede 3lb to the useful Masteroftheworld the time before that when again second over course and distance. This time he gets 3lb from the favourite, which gives every chance of turning around the 2¼ lengths he was beaten last time, and he looks a decent each-way poke considering he’s 4lb and upwards clear of his other rivals.
Winter Derby Trial Free Tip:
Big Country (Each-Way) @ 6.00 10Bet, WilliamHill, SportPesa
Paul Nicholls trained the winner of the 2018 renewal of the Heroes Handicap Hurdle with Topofthegame but, whilst he won off a big-weight and a mark of 142, the previous three winners all carried low-weights and were rated in the 120’s. That brings this year’s representative from the Nicholls Casko D’Airy yard firmly into the equation. He won at Ascot easily last time in his first handicap, when tackling 3 miles for the first time, and he remains completely unexposed. He’s also a seven-year-old having just his fourth start for the yard, which suggests Nicholls thinks he’s got a chance of getting a few wins out of him, otherwise he could have easily moved him on to another stable.
Heroes Handicap Hurdle Free Tip:
Casko D’Airy (Each-Way) @ 7.00 SkyBet, Betway Betfred (all paying 5 places)
Min will be very hard to beat in his bid to win a second successive Dublin Chase and he should relish being able to track the strong pace that Saint Calvados and Special Tiara look likely to set. However, as a strong pace also looks sure to suit Simply Ned, the value bet in the race could be the same forecast as last year with Min to beat Simply Ned. Min has finished first past the post in all three of his course and distance runs, whilst Simply Ned benefitted from a stewards’ enquiry when finishing half a length behind Min once last year, whilst also finishing second to him here in last year’s renewal. Other pointers include Ruby Walsh’s 5 wins from 6 on Min, whilst Mark Walsh has finished 1/2/1 on his three previous starts on Simply Ned.
Dublin Chase Free Tip:
Min @ 1.67 SkyBet, Betdaq, Matchbook, Smarkets