2.00 Grade B Handicap Hurdle:
This weekend we are in full Cheltenham trial mode as the Dublin Racing Festival takes centre stage at Leopardstown.
All ante-post markets will most definitely change following this weekend. On Saturday, my preview will be on the most-competitive race on the card. My aim, as per normal, will be to look at the trends of the race and then preview two leading contenders at a value perspective.
This race over the years has given us winners that would go into the “potential to improve” category. Certain trainers target this race en route to Cheltenham for one of the handicaps.
- Horses trained by Jessica Harrington, Arthur Moore, Willie Mullins, Tony Martin and Charles Byrnes over the last few years have tended to run extremely well.
- Placed at Leopardstown over Christmas
- Second season hurdler
Jetez at 11/1
This horse for me really stands out as one of those in the ‘potential to improve’ category that I mentioned above.
If we take a look at his form it’s easy to see that his career has progressed from his bumper days right through to finishing second in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Chase last time out. To look that that last run in depth, it’s important to notice that Felix Desjy got the run of the race and Jetez was well clear of the third.
Felix Desjy’s bumper reputation was high so, for me, that was a highly commendable run by Jetez. One of the trends above is paramount in the selection of this horse: course form at Leopardstown over Christmas really stands out.
He was rated 128 and got a lovely patient ride tracking the leaders, travelled well all the way and stayed on well in the straight to win by three lengths. He went up eight pounds to a rating of 136 for that and I really think that handicap mark leaves him with a major chance of being in contention this weekend.
Jessica Harrington was always of the opinion this horse needed 2m4f, so with the ground being on the soft side I can see his stamina coming into play.
GOING REPORT for 2nd & 3rd February part 1/2
Issued at 8am Friday 1st February
Following 5mm of rain yesterday and overnight going remains
GOING: Hurdle & Bumper – Good to Yielding
Chase – Good pic.twitter.com/72ID8Vu3kg
— Leopardstown RC (@LeopardstownRC) February 1, 2019
Tudor City at 10/1
The second selection this weekend is trained by a man, Tony Martin, who knows exactly what it takes to win these competitive handicaps.
This horse is not in the improving category but he is very consistent when he gets a strong gallop to aim at. He was campaigned on the flat over the summer and then returned with a highly creditable second at Fairyhouse to Wonder Laish, who is the potential favourite for this race.
To watch the replay you will notice he was pushed along but eventually stayed on well to be beaten a half a length, with Robbie Colgan losing his whip close to home. The question is did Wonder Laish win cosily?
Tudor City then ran in the same race at Christmas as Jetez. I honestly believe he was ridden too close to the pace that day. He was second jumping the last and finished fifth, weakening close home.
The weights this time around suit Tudor City and it would be no surprise to me to see him loom up at the last and stay in front this time.