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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Melissa Jones

Leopardstown on Saturday: Tips and runners for every race including Irish Gold Cup

Minella Indo prepares for the defence of his Cheltenham Gold Cup crowd on a star-studded card at Leopardstown.

Henry de Bromhead's chaser is among a fine selection of classy thoroughbreds declared for day one of the Dublin Racing Festival.

On Saturday the nine-year-old bids to turn around last year's Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (3.15) with Kemboy and see off British challenger Frodon.

Minella Indo teams up with Robbie Power for the first time in the eight runner field.

Cheltenham Festival favourite Blue Lord is joined by stablemates Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam. in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase (2.10).

The Gordon Elliott-trained Riviere D'Etel represents the Ferny Hollow form line.

JCB Triumph Hurdle market leader Fil Dor puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle (1.35).

Albert Bartlett fancy Hollow Games takes in the meeting opener (1.05), while Champion Bumper contender Facile Vega steps up to Grade 2 level in the finale (4.25).

Race-by-race tips for Leopardstown

1.05 – Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors '50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff' Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)

1 Bronn

2 Eric Bloodaxe

3 Freedom To Dream

4 Grand Jury

5 Hollow Games

6 Minella Cocooner

7 Minella Crooner

8 Whatdeawant

TIPPING VERDICT: MINELLA CROONER is taken to step up in grade successfully. Runner-up in a good maiden hurdle, splitting the talented pair Journey With Me and Kilcruit, he has had a nice run over three miles since. Jack Kennedy's mount has a decent engine and with more to come, he can hold stablemate Hollow Games. Bronn has to step up on what he has done so far but Grand Jury has the form to play a hand.

1.35 – Racing TV '12 Per Month This Weekend Only' Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

1 Ben Siegel

2 Fil Dor

3 Icare Allen

4 Il Etait Temps

5 The Tide Turns

6 Vauban

7 Scenic Look

8 Six Feet Apart

9 Vadaly

TIPPING VERDICT: VAUBAN was well-backed to make a winning hurdling debut at Punchestown. A Listed winner in France, he did little wrong in defeat behind the winner Pied Piper and may have won without a mistake at the last flight. That particular horse, a stablemate of another key runner Fil Dor, won impressively at Cheltenham and has rather taken connections by surprise. Gordon Elliott therefore has a line to his horse's form, but the selection is entitled to step forward encountering better ground in the jumping sphere, wearing a first-time tongue tie.

2.10 – Patrick Ward & Co Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1)
Trainer Willie Mullins is well represented in the Arkle trial (Getty)

1 Blue Lord

2 Embittered

3 Busselton

4 Haut En Couleurs

5 Saint Sam

6 Riviere D'Etel

TIPPING VERDICT: The weight RIVIERE D'ETEL gets from her rivals is enough to edge the verdict. Rated 150, she gave Ferny Hollow a race 41 days ago. He is a horse right out of the top drawer and but for a setback was one of the likeliest Cheltenham Festival winners. Prior to that she was especially good over fences on decent ground, so her Grade 1 Leopardstown effort on soft can be marked up. Blue Lord is the main danger, as stablemate Haut En Couleurs might want slightly further to be at his best.

2.45 – Paddy Power 'I'd Love A Can But Pints Are Cheaper' Handicap Hurdle

1 Cobbler's Way

2 Unexpected Depth

3 The Jam Man

4 Dallas Des Pictons

5 Top Moon

6 Panda Boy

7 Maze Runner

8 Ballywilliam Boy

9 Aldo The Apache

10 Authorized Art

11 Dark Voyager

12 Good Time Jonny

13 Dunboyne

14 De Name Escapes Me

15 A Great View

16 Whatsnotoknow

17 Futurum Regem

18 Captain Kangaroo

19 Pour Pavore

20 The Little Yank

21 Priory Park

22 Scoir Mear

23 Enjoy D'Allen

24 Rightplacerightime

TIPPING VERDICT: Unexpected Depth has cheekpieces on first time as he bids to improve on his ninth over course and distance, where he was not in the best position. Priory Park arrives on a hat-trick up 10lb in the weights and send over a longer distance. That is a big rise to defy in a race like this, but Enjoy D'Allen looks to be on the right side of the handicapper. At the foot of the weights, Rachael Blackmore's mount RIGHTPLACERIGHTIME went off favourite for a race at Haydock in November and could only finish seventh. He won a chase before that outing but connections obviously feel there is more to come over hurdles, with cheekpieces back on. Dark Voyager is an interesting each-way prospect on this surface, as he ran well in a handicap a couple of starts ago behind a gelding that has won again since.

3.15 – Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1)

1 Asterion Forlonge

2 Cilaos Emery

3 Conflated

4 Delta Work

5 Frodon

6 Janidil

7 Kemboy

8 Minella Indo

TIPPING VERDICT: DELTA WORK is a sporting selection. He took this two years ago and is a three-time winner at the highest level at this track. The ground is also more to his liking compared to 12 months ago, when he was third behind Kemboy. That rival had bossed proceedings from the front although Frodon is likely to be up with the pace too this time. Headgear is worn by Delta Work as connections try to rediscover his best and the race will be run to suit. Minella Indo excels at Cheltenham but Asterion Forlonge has won at this venue and one day will put it all together in the jumping department.

Bryony Frost with Frodon and connections after winning the 2019 Ryanair Chase during the Cheltenham Festival (PA)
3.50 – Paddy Power 'I'm Never Going Back To The Office' Handicap Chase

1 Exit Poll

2 A Wave Of The Sea

3 Capuccimix

4 Grange Walk

5 Mt Leinster

6 Batcio

7 Scheu Time

8 R'evelyn Pleasure

9 Stansfield

TIPPING VERDICT: Mt Leinster is the likely favourite but he does not win enough in the National Hunt game and is not a natural chaser. A WAVE OF THE SEA makes some appeal at the prices. Capable of a bold run on his day, he did best of from off the pace in the Munster National. Down in trip with blinkers returning, this is the course and distance scorer's easiest task for some time.

4.25 – Goffs Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2)

1 The Big Doyen

2 Carnfunnock

3 Da Capo Glory

4 Embassy Gardens

5 Facile Vega

6 Itswhatunitesus

7 Sandor Clegane

TIPPING VERDICT: FACILE VEGA was hugely impressive on debut and has excellent breeding, being by Walk In The Park and the stable's former classy mare Quevega. He has plenty of gears and had the field spread out, plus the second has won since. Kilcruit scooped the first prize for the same trainer and jockey combination a year ago – and their latest challenger will be hard to beat. Itswhatunitesus, the mount of Jamie Codd, also showed promise on debut 63 days ago.

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