What a great weekend of quality racing we just experienced. The Dublin Racing Festival continues to be a fantastic addition to the racing schedule and, along with subscribers to my selections service at VG Tips, I had a winning weekend. Largely courtesy of the master of training racehorses in Ireland, the gentleman who is Willie Mullins.
Members of VG Tips know that, ideally, I am an each way backer of horses. But, at meetings such as that staged at Leopardstown over the weekend, you have to be backing what are clearly the best horses in the race and, inevitably, they are usually on offer at short odds against or odds on prices.
I suggest the magnificent 7 winners I tipped at the weekend were value for their victories.
On Saturday, over in Ireland, Gaillard Du Mesnil (above) was the first winner of the weekend. Tipped up by me when odds of 9/4 were available in the betting market. On a weekend when each way options were few and far between, I offered up Gentlemansgame as an 8/1 selection for those members who prefer to bet each way. Gentlemansgame was placed in the race.
The early price about Chacun Pour Soi (below) was value at odds of 1/2. As imperious as ever, the Willie Mullins trained gelding won the Grade 1 Dublin Chase and is now best price 10/11 (William Hill) to win the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday March 17th. The fact that the next horse in the market for that race is 8/1, tells you all you need to know about how highly fancied Chacun Pour Soi is to win the Champion Chase. As of now, I can’t look elsewhere.
The Mullins bandwagon rolled on with what was, for me at least, the most impressive performance on Saturday. In my Cheltenham Festival previews sent to subscribers in earlier weeks, I told them to have an each way ante-post bet on Energumene at odds of 5/1 for the Arkle Chase on the first day of the festival in mid March. I suggested they use the Non Runner, No Bet price being offered by Paddy Power and Betfair. After all, the favourite for that race, Shishkin, looked to be the one Energumene had to beat. That remains the case. What has chanced is that the 5/1 is long gone.
After Energumene won the Irish Arkle on Saturday, easily, the best price for him in the Arkle at Cheltenham is now a mere 11/4. He’ll still have his work cut out beating Shishkin but the 10 length victory by Energumene on Saturday was mightily impressive. My 10/1 each way option, Franco De Port, was second in the Irish Arkle, so ensuring anyone who had a straight forecast bet improved their returns. I think Energumene will lay down a serious challenge to Shishkin next month.
Honesyuckle was the fourth winner for us at Leopardstown on Saturday. Some doubted Honeysuckle was as good as in past seasons. I had no such doubts. Rachael Blackmore rode the mare to a 10 length victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Here’s what my preview of this race told members last Friday:- “The doubters are concerned about the drop back to two miles here. Eight of her ten wins have been over further than two miles. But she still won the two races that were. Honeysuckle will love the ground… She and Sharjah met in the same race last year, won by Honeysuckle, and in which Sharjah was way behind in sixth. Sharjah has improved since but is not one you can rely on with your life.”
True enough. Sharjah finished 19 lengths behind the winner. Honeysuckle is now the 9/4 second favourite up against Epatante in the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday March 16th.
On super Saturday in Dublin it was four winners from five races selected for members of VG Tips. On Sunday, it was a 100% record there. Three selections. Three winners.
The Gordon Elliott trained Quilixios had not been seen racing since last October and that was the only concern about my 11/10 tip to land the Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown. No need to worry. Quilixios won the race by five and a half lengths.
Odds of 8/11 would be too short for many a punter but when Appreciate It (above) wins with so much left in the tank as was the case on Sunday, I’d argue that even that odds on price represented value. Appreciate It is now the 7/4 favourite to land the opening race at Cheltenham, the Supreme Novices Hurdle. The opponent that finished second to him on Sunday, Ballyadam, is priced 10/1 for the same Cheltenham race. Blue Lord was a 9/1 each way option for Sunday’s race and that one finished third.
The Sunday hat trick of winners in Ireland was completed when Monkfish wowed those who saw him win the Flogas Novice Chase by a whopping 11 lengths from Latest Exhibition. I now cannot look past Monkfish when it comes to the winner of the RSA Chase at the festival on Wednesday March 17th. He’s best price Evens to do so with BetVictor who are not offering Non Runner, No Bet terms yet. SkyBet are offering 5/6 (NRNB) while Paddy Power and Betfair offer 8/11 (NRNB). The second favourite in the market right now is Royal Pagaille which is priced 7/2 (NRNB) with Paddy Power and Betfair and 8/1 with William Hill, who are not yet offering Non Runner, No Bet terms.
A wonderful weekend of racing in Ireland, dominated by Willie Mullins, and which delivered a magnificent 7 winners from 8 tips to my lovely and loyal members. A weekend they’ll not forget in a hurry.
Soon I will be sending them my new, post Dublin Racing Festival ante-post preview of the Cheltenham Festival which will include my ante-post tips for some of the big races at Prestbury Park in March.