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PARTY CENTRAL has a nice profile for this race and can kick-off the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival with victory for Gordon Elliott and the Bective Stud. This mare showed progression following her second to Grangee at the DRF last year with subsequent victories at Fairyhouse and Listowel. She bounced back from defeat at Down Royal to score in good fashion at Punchestown in early December and can challenge here under Davy Russell.
The ground, trip and track won’t be an issue and a rating of 121 can see her challenge on her handicap debut over hurdles. Gordon Elliott knows what it takes to win this race following success with Black Tears in 2020 and remember only one horse (Lughnasa in 2014) has carried over 11-stone to victory in this event over the past decade. Elsewhere, Lunar Display could run well at a big-price for Joseph O’Brien with Brides Hill, Glan and Must Be Obeyed a few others on the shortlist.
GALOPIN DES CHAMPS was arguably the most impressive winner of the Christmas period with Paul Townend hardly able to pull this lad up following his stunning victory over course and distance. The Martin Pipe winner took to fences like a duck to water and it’s hard to look beyond him as Willie Mullins looks to win this race again following success with Faugheen and Monkfish over the past two seasons.
The battle for second is an intriguing one with Master McShee, Fury Road, Capodanno and BEACON EDGE all in the mix. Noel Meade has decided to stick cheekpieces on his runner following a dramatic win in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse in November. This horse has already managed to get the better of fellow Gigginstown runner Fury Road on several occasions and for me has the edge over this trip to run well and challenge from off the pace for second behind the classy favourite.
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Foxrock was the only horse to carry over 11-stone to victory in this competitive handicap chase over the past decade and I’m hoping JP McManus’ can secure back-to-back victories after success with Off You Go last year. BIRCHDALE has just squeezed into this race off a rating of 133 and is just one of several runners wearing the famous green and gold colours. The son of Jeremy showed vast improvement when stepping up in trip to finish sixth behind School Boy Hours in the Paddy Power over Christmas.
He jumped and travelled nicely on that occasion before just getting tired turning into the straight, with suggests this slight drop back in trip looks ideal for his chance on Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t disgraced when finishing eighth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham two-years-ago and the 7Ib claim of Mark McDonagh is another positive. Elsewhere, Definite Plan at a bigger price might run well having disappointed in the Toytown, while Blackbow will be popular for followers of Willie Mullins.
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SIR GERHARD was another impressive Christmas winner for Willie Mullins and this Cheveley Park owned runner can remain unbeaten over hurdles before heading towards the Supreme at Cheltenham. His jumping was slick and impressive on his hurling debut here at Christmas with the form enhanced by the third horse, Ash Tree Meadow winning his maiden hurdle at Navan last month.
The son of Jeremy already has the better of Three Stripe Life on bumper form and should take the beaten with My Mate Mozzie and stablemates, El Fabiolo and Statuaire looking his main dangers. Statuaire came late to beat My Mate Mozzie in the Royal Bond while it’s interesting to see how El Fabiolo can improve from his impressive Tramore victory. Sir Gerhard is the class act here and can give Closutton another victory in this race having won eight of the last nine renewals.
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Willie Mullins has an embarrassment of riches in the bumper division this season with plenty of nice mares doing battle in our Dublin Racing Festival finale. PINK IN THE PARK comes from the family of Granville Again and Morley Street and has a lovely pedigree by Walk In The Park, out of Pink Hat. She absolutely hacked up on debut at Listowel and Mullins couldn’t have been more pleased or open about her ability in his post-race comments.
The one caveat is the previous record of the Mullins team with his so-called leading mare in this race in recent seasons. Colreevy only finished third to stablemate Relegate in 2018 with Brandy Love also turned over by Grangee last year. The Champion trainer has plenty of nice mares in opposition with Eabha Grace also impressive on debut at Thurles. Harmonya Maker and Bellatior head the Gordon Elliott challenge but all the right vibes are speaking strongly for PINK IN THE PARK to win the last.
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- All our top tipsters feature in this Dublin Racing Festival Cheat Sheet
- Our top trader has his selections in Frank Hickey’s Dublin Racing Festival tips
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- We’ve another leading tipster with Paul Jacobs’ racing tips for ITV today
- And don’t forget the wee man himself with Ruby Walsh’s Dublin Racing Festival tips today
- Also, ITV’s Matt Chapman is joining in on the act too… here’s Matt’s Sunday tips from across the tracks
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