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Leopardstown Tips - Through the card tips on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival

  • We take a look through the full card on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival
  • The Irish Champion Hurdle is the feature race at Leopardstown on Saturday
  • Ramillies is our best bet of the day in the card-closing bumper
  • Vanillier, Port Stanley and Franco De Port also feature amongst our tips
chacun pour soi
Chacun Pour Soi bids to retain his Dublin Chase crown on Saturday. (Getty)

The opening day of the 2021 Dublin Racing Festival features four fantastic Grade Ones. Viewers also have a couple of thrilling handicaps to take in, plus a top-quality bumper to round off the action on Saturday.

Let's jump straight into our best betting tips!

Dublin Racing Festival Day One Card

12:55pmNathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m6f
1:25pmLadbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) 2m
2:00pmERSG Arkle Novice' Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f
2:35pmMatheson Handicap Chase (Grade B) 2m1f
3:10pmIrish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m
3:45pmLadbrokes Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 2m
4:20pmFuture Stars Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m

Race 1 - Nathaniel Lacy Novice Hurdle Tips

What a brilliant way to start the weekend. The field for this Grade One looks stacked, and there's a strong possibility we could see the winners of the Ballymore and the Albert Bartlett run in Saturday's opener.

Despite winning here over Christmas, looking really classy in the process, Willie Mullins has fitted Gaillard Du Mesnil with headgear for the first time. Stattler and Ashdale Bob have to give a couple of pounds to the other fancied runners, but both look strong stayers and could challenge for the win.

Capegentleman and Gentlemansgame both looked smart when winning on debut. As did Holymacapony, who may have flopped badly last time out, but that performance was too bad to be true. All three hold a couple of novice hurdle entries at the Cheltenham Festival.

I'm really struggling to decide between the runners at the head of the market, so I'm going to take an each-way punt on VANILLIER, who's certainly been overlooked.

A very useful point-to-pointer, Vanillier beat Stattler when the pair clashed on their second starts under rules at Naas. Gavin Cromwell's mount was then beaten by Farouk D'alene in a Grade Three at Limerick, where he was seven lengths adrift turning for home, but stayed on down the home straight and was eventually beaten less than a length.

16/1 looks a massive price for a horse with strong form in the book and should have no trouble seeing out the trip. 

Race 2 - Dublin Chase Tips

After a real head-scratcher in the opener, this Grade One seems much more straight-forward. CHACUN POUR SOI should be good enough to defend his crown.

Willie Mullins' star handed Min a sound thrashing when they clashed here last year. Chacun Pour Soi has impressed on both his starts so far this season, and should carry a third win into the 2021 Champion Chase.

Race 3 - Irish Arkle Tips

Energumene looked far superior to both Captain Guinness and Blackbow when they met at Naas last month. While he deserves to be odds on, I just worry about the quick-turnaround here and, considering all three of his starts over jumps have come on heavy ground, the going this weekend could be a little on the quick side.

Instead, I'm going to take an each-way punt on FRANCO DE PORT. As Felix Desjy set off at a ridiculous pace here over Christmas, Bryan Cooper dropped his mount out at the back of the field. When the leaders began to tire, Franco De Port swept past on the run to the last, and stayed on to claim a surprise Grade One win.

Felix Desjy is in the field again, and Energumene will likely join him at the head of affairs. If the race falls apart again, then Franco De Port could pick up the pieces.

Willie Mullins leopardstown
Willie Mullins will be amongst the winners on day one at Leopardstown. (Getty)

Race 4 - Matheson Handicap Chase Tips

Everyone bar Ordinary World and Goulane Chosen will carry less than 11-00 into this handicap, and a chance can be given to plenty. The one who appeals most to me at the odds is PORT STANLEY.

Jessica Harrington's charge has been unlucky to run into talented types like Easywork, Energumene and Front View this season. Last time out at Fairyhouse, they went a crawl early on, which clearly didn't suit Port Stanley, and he was passed in the closing stages by former Boodles Juvenile Handicap winner, Aramax. 

Robbie Power's mount now makes his handicap debut off a workable mark of 135, and he should be suited by a quicker pace.

Race 5 - Irish Champion Hurdle Tips

Read our full preview of the 2021 Irish Champion Hurdle to see who we think is the best bet in Saturday's feature.

If you plan on watching the racing via your mobile device, then check out our Irish Champion Hurdle Live Streaming page.

Race 6 - Ladbrokes Hurdle Tips

Blue Sari E/W3:50pm Ladbrokes Hurdle (Extended Handicap Hurdle) (Grade B) 2mGET 14/1 HERE
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This won't be a big betting race for me at all, but I would like to take a small chance on BLUE SARI, who hasn't been seen since in over a year.

After following Envoi Allen home in the Champion Bumper, I thought Blue Sari might turn into a prime challenger for the Supreme last season. Sadly, a maiden hurdle victory over The Bosses Oscar was followed by two terrible performances in Grade Ones, and he's clearly given Mullins problems since then.

Two miles on decent ground should be ideal for a horse who showed plenty of pace in bumpers. If back to his best, then Blue Sari could be well-treated off an opening handicap mark of 140.

Race 7 - Future Stars Flat Race Tips

"It's a romp. It's a slam." Those were the words Gerry Hannon used to describe RAMILLIES' victory here at the Christmas Meeting. Willie Mullins' grey tanked his way to the front rounding the final bend, and needed no encouragement to put the race to bed.

Patrick Mullins has chosen to ride Kilcruit, who also looked very impressive when winning on his reappearance. Yet, at the odds, I'd rather side with Ramillies, and a victory here would see him rival Sir Gerhard at the head of the Champion Bumper betting.


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