Leopardstown are optimistic of beating the recent freeze for the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend although there was a mix of rain, sleet and snow due to hit the track on Thursday. Gordon Elliot’s Mengli Khan was well held behind Le Richebourg when the pair met at Christmas, but there has been money for the former with BetVictor who cut the gelding from 10s to 8/1 for the Irish Arkle on Saturday. Note I’m not convinced British raider Knocknanuss (3/1 at BetVictor) would appreciate genuinely soft ground.
At the time of writing it looks unlikely that Chepstow will pass their Thursday afternoon inspection which was planned for 2pm so our preview will look just at the three all-weather cards beginning at Lingfield Park.
In the opener First Link is likely to be all the rage after her fluent course win over 7f here last week. The jury is still out as to whether she can be as effective over a mile, however, and marginal preference is for Indiscretion (1.45) whose two career wins have come at 100/1 and 20/1. The selection has won from a break in the past and she is only 1lb higher than when scoring over C&D back in April.
Oisin Murphy returns to Britain following a hugely successful spell in Japan and I hope he can make a winning reappearance courtesy of the debutante Heavenly Tale (2.55) who cost 140,000gns as a yearling and is bred to be useful. Connections will want to get a win next to her name sooner rather than later and she would not have to be anything out of the ordinary to mark a winning start.
The feature race is the 2m Conditions race and Stargazer has to show he is as effective on polytrack as he is on Newcastle’s tapeta surface where he has been running very well at present. Five go to post and there is very little between the quintet on official figures, but I just favour Lord George (3.25) who finished runner up over C&D on Final’s Day back in April and can take this as he prepares to go one better on Good Friday.
Key To Power (3.55) made a highly encouraging debut on turf at Thirsk back in May and the winner is now rated 105. Her subsequent absence from the track is a slight concern, but she makes the journey down from Middleham for Mark Johnston and I feel she can go one better.
A market move for Godolphin’s Wings Of Time – went off 20/1 on turf debut – would be worth noting in the Mile Maiden at Wolverhampton but I felt Solar Heights (3.10) ran a race full of promise at Kempton on debut, suggesting the experience would not be lost on her. Today’s additional furlong should also suit.
King Of Naples hinted that he was coming back to something like his best when third over C&D last time and he is fitted with a first-time hood. He looks sure to go close but the filly Francophilia (4.10) has hinted in recent starts that a drop back in trip may see her in a better light. The handicapper has dropped her 3lbs since her last start and apprentice Andrew Breslin takes off a further 5lbs.
At Newcastle consistency hasn’t been the watchword for Porrima and she is overlooked despite winning well over C&D just a week ago. John Gosden continues to persevere with Playfull Spirit (5.45) but this seven-race maiden has run some good races in defeat and she is fitted with first-time cheek-pieces in the quest to break her maiden tag this evening. She has run two good races at Gosforth Park over a mile and 6f and the hope is that this intermediate 7f trip will suit.
I am going to take a chance on Irish raider Prosecution (6.15) in the Mile handicap. Johnny Murtagh’s 5-y-old is rated 10lbs lower on an all-weather surface but this is his first start on tapeta and he is certainly well treated on the best of his turf form.
For all your racing odds go to BetVictor.com