The two-day Dublin Racing Festival this weekend will – just as Cheltenham Trials Day did a week ago – provide a host of clues to which horses might win the big races at the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March.
I covered tomorrow’s Grade1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (Leopardstown, 1.20 p.m.) in my column two weeks ago. I still fancy Jetara to see off her five rivals, all from the yards of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
Sadly, the odds of 10-1 for Jessica Harrington’s talented mare and the three places that were available a fortnight ago have both long gone. There are plenty of other fascinating races and an array of talent on show in Ireland but there are no more bets there for me.
The on-track fare on this side of the Irish Sea is more moderate but I am happy to put up one bet tomorrow in the Virgin Bet Masters Handicap Chase (Sandown, 3.45 p.m.). As regular readers will know, I like backing horses from the smaller yards, particularly the non-gambling stables, because you often get better odds that you should compared with horses from the bigger operations.
CERTAINLY RED is a veteran now, at the age of ten, but hopefully no back number quite yet. Hailing from Lydia Richards’ West Sussex yard, he knows how to win – four from 11 over career chases. His three runs this season have hardly set the world alight but a return to better ground and a return to a track where he has winning form are in his favour.
There is a lot of 7-1 around but back him with Betfred paying four places (SkyBet is also offering four places but odds of only 6-1). There are only ten runners so four places is certainly attractive.
My main fancy today though is an ante-post bet for the Virgin Bet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday 17 February – that’s two weeks’ tomorrow.