So as the curtain drew on the Dublin Racing Festival, we are still left with a tonne of unanswered questions in regards to some of the big championship races in March.
The Champion Hurdle picture remains a messy affair with Honeysuckle struggling to get home despite receiving weight and at the same time back on English soil Call Me Lord getting turned over at Sandown by Quel Destin. After this past weekend’s events it makes it all the more surprising that Gordon Elliott is still aiming Envoi Allen at the Ballymore. All that being said however the second to Honeysuckle Darver Star could potentially be a big priced runner who could scoop a place in what looks a weak Champion Hurdle. The horse showed grit and heart which could help him when finishing up that steep Cheltenham hill when others are falling back.
Meanwhile in the 2m4f Novice chase division you would have to make Faugheen the form horse of the weekend and as a general 5/1 with most firms for Cheltenham it’s hard to see past the multiple Grade 1 winner. Especially after the Scilly Isles Chase (which produced last years winner Defi Du Seuil) was a disappointing renewal. Perhaps it’s a tad harsh but it’s difficult to class Itchy Feet as a potential Festival winner. Itchy Feet stayed on well to win but will be found lacking in the big one come March.
Finally I would like to touch on The Paddy Power Gold Cup, which was a well run test which saw Delta Work winning again over course and distance. He has well and truly displayed his Gold Cup credentials and as with Santini the previous week has put his name forward as a lively contender.
written by Stephen Rowe