The Irish racing broadcaster runs through the card on the first day at the Dublin Racing Festival and offers five selections.
PREDATORS GOLD / is the one to beat in the opener. He’s looked very good since joining Willie Mullins and, to my eye, he’s the best horse in the race on what he’s shown so far. He was a good second in a Grade 1 last time and that, to me, is the best form on offer. I’ve been impressed by Jetara and think he’s the second-best horse in the race, but the market has found him out now.
The second race is another really competitive and grand affair and while you have to respect the favourite, I do think that KARGESE / will turn round the form with Kala Conti. Connections won this race last year with Gala Marceau, and I don’t suspect they’ll be far away again this year.
The star attraction is Marine Nationale. He’s been superb this season and looked even better last time out. It goes without saying that he’s the one to beat, but he’s not a betting proposition. The race to finish second is likely between two Willie Mullins horses – it depends on whether Facile Vega is back to his best. If he isn’t, Il Etait Tempts could easily pick up the pieces and it’s a battle I look forward to seeing.
I like FINE MARGIN / in the competitive, big-field handicap hurdle. I thought it was a good run from him at Haydock last time. I think there is still room in his mark and don’t suppose he’ll be too far away. Canal End was a shade disappointing last time and is better than that but, with the prize money so good, it’s going to be highly contested and supremely tough to win.
No points for originality for me, but GALOPIN DES CHAMPS / should be winning this as he likes. He was as good in the Saville’s last time as I’d ever seen him and he took an age to pull up. You never know how much these races take out of horses, but he looked like he had plenty more to give and he should find this within his compass. It would be great to see him win this in great style and then head to Cheltenham to defend his crown in the Gold Cup.
Gavin Cromwell’s Path D’Orooux is going to be popular. He was a good second last time out and that sets the bar for the recent form, but I’ve got to give a big mention to the English horse, MADARA / . He’s caught the eye on each start for Sophie Leech and won well at Cheltenham last time. There could still be more to come from him and I think this track will suit.
If A Dream To Share is anywhere near his best, he’ll be very, very tough to beat, especially having escaped a penalty for his victories in top company. It’s often tough, though, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on The Enabler, who I think is a great prospect.