Dublin Racing Festival Will Have Followers!

First race is off today at 15h20

The Leopardstown racecourse hosts the Dublin Racing Festival over the next two days.

The best horses, trainers and jockeys compete for the eight Group One races and over two million Euro in prize money.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday and the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday being the highlights.

Saturday looks like being something of a benefit for champion trainer Willie Mullins.

It could be a Willie Mullins party today!

Lossiemouth, Appreciate It and Galopin Des Champs should all win their respective Group Ones for Mullins and his first-choice rider Paul Townend.

Lossiemouth, a course and distance winner, should get the ball rolling at 15h55 with the running of the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. The unbeaten filly is the highest rated runner in a field of eight and she should have too much natural speed for her rivals here. Her unexposed stable companion Gust Of Wind, who won his only start in France last season, is selected to follow her home.

Dysart Dynamo was desperately unlucky when cruising at the time he fell in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle won by Constitution Hill. He looked superb on his chasing debut at Leopardstown over Christmas when winning by 28-lengths, but Paul Townend has opted to stay aboard the 2021 Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Appreciate It in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase (16h30).

The treble should be landed at 17h05 when Galopin Des Champs contests the Paddy Power Gold Cup over three miles. Six oppose, including three stable mates, but on official ratings he is at least 12lbs better off with his rivals.

The first Group 1 on Sunday, the Ladbrokes Novice Chase (15h40) run over an extended two and a half miles sees the unbeaten chaser, Mighty Potter trained by Gordon Elliott take on five rivals, all trained by Mullins.

Mighty Potter is favourite due to his four and a half-length victory over the Mullins trained stable-elect Gaillard Du Mesnil at Fairyhouse in December. He looks hard to beat here with the progressive James de Berlais the unknown quantity now with the Willie Mullins yard.

Blue Lord should get a good lead from stable companion Gentleman De Mee in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (16h10) over an extended two miles. With only four rivals, he should add to the Mullins Group 1 winning haul.

The great mare Honeysuckle goes in search of her fourth Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at 17h10. The two-mile hurdling division looks a lot stronger this year with Constitution Hill and State Man now in the mix.

State Man and the year younger Vauban are both top-class and represent Willie Mullins in this year’s renewal, the highlight of the festival, and both should contribute to this contest being a real spectacle.

One defeat in seventeen starts is something else though, and the Rachael Blackmore ridden nine-year-old is selected to see off the Mullins coupling.

Despite managing only third behind Teahupoo on her seasonal return in the Hatton Grace, her big-race jockey Blackmore still has full faith in her mount.

Speaking to the press, Blackmore said: “She’s unbeaten at Leopardstown and I wouldn’t be underestimating her in any shape or form. She’s the one they all have to come out and beat.”

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