Day 2 of the Dublin Festival with another raft of amazing races in their own right, but also the highest quality homework we can imagine for next month’s jamboree.
NAP OF THE DAY: 1430 Column Of Fire, 2pts win, 5/1
You’d have to be worried if Willie Mullins can engineer enough withdrawals for the thrown in Cabaret Queen to squeeze in. But in her anticipated absence this looks an interesting opportunity for novice Column Of Fire on handicap debut. He was unlucky bro bump into grade 1 performers on his first two runs this season and then was an unlucky faller when set to collect next time. Has never looked better than when cruising home at Punchestown and could just be beginning to click. The longer trip ought to suit and he could have a fair bit in hand if continuing to improve for connections who won this with a similar novice last year. Our old friend Gardens Of Babylon looks the most likely of the longer priced options.
1255: Ena Baie, 1pt win, 10/1:
Plenty to like in this race. Spruced Up was deeply impressive last time but is up massively in weight and class. It may be worth risking Ena Baie who ran well here for a staying on third in a big field at Christmas and an Irish campaign from the UK base of Harry Fry seems to have been the plan all along.
1325: Oak Park, 0.5pts each way, 40/1
Not much chance of anything beating hot favourite Aspire Tower here. He must have a huge chance come Cheltenham but there’s not much point in putting him up at 1/2. Instead we will risk a little each way on Oak Park. The Elliott yard usually have a strong hand in juveniles but this is his only entry. He fell when running well last time and is more of an each way price than Never Do Nothing who looks the most likely of the mid-priced contenders.
1355 Mt Leinster, 1pt win, 11/4
A cracking Supreme trial. Favourite Easyworks has this on form to date, but we’d be a fraction concerned whether he will be quite as effective away from heavy ground. Mt Leinster has a couple of lengths to find, but his breeding suggests better ground could be the key and he was impressive at this track over Christmas. He looks the one to take advantage should the favourite fall short of his best. Conflated could go well at a price if allowed to ruin a handicap mark that screams Martin Pipe for the Cheltenham festival – keep an eye on him.
1500 Easy Game, 1pt win, 6/1
Obviously all eyes will be on the legend Faugheen and he is arguably a good price, but beating Samcro is proving less of a badge of honour than once looked. We aren’t keen on Battleoverdoyen and it’s a Faugheen stablemate who could be the bigger danger. Easy Game upset the odds-on Allaho in good style at Christmas when his fluent jumping on chase debit was very impressive. Allaho has franked that form, and Easy Game may be a bit better than the markets have baked in.
1530 Kemboy, 1pt win, 6/4
A rematch of the Savills Chase here at Christmas. Delta Work won there with Kemboy only 4th and our beloved Presenting Percy just behind. Of those, Kemboy is the one who can make the biggest step forward. He was making seasonal debut there and usually jumps with a bit more fluency. Given a more positive ride he can reverse the form. Percy would be a tear-jerker but the suspicion is that he is being prepped with Cheltenham in mind.
1600 At The Acorn, 1pt win, 6/1
Very tempting to back the classy Robin Des Foret here back over a suitable trip, but it’s hard to get away from super-plotter Tony Martin’s At The Acorn. An eye catcher on handicap debut here over an inadequate 2m, he showed massive improvement to win easily at Fairyhouse over this trip last time. The handicapper certainly sat that to the tune of a 15lb hike, but Martin will have had big prizes like this in mind, and that hike is the price of access. He will still be on a comparatively low weight and he looks very dangerous.
1635: The West Awaits, 1pt win, 10/1
Odds-on looks very skinny for Bigbadandbeautiful – she has been impressive but she is lumbered with the maximum penalty here. Willie Mullins will have had many to choose from but has only entered the one. The West Awaits has to do better than here debut defeat but she was very free there and could improve. She could be value receiving the weight.
The Daily Yankee:
Column Of Fire – Enda Baie – Kemboy – At The Acorn
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