By News Team
31st January 2020
The wait for Cheltenham is not over. There’s still another five weeks or so to go, but eight Group Ones in Ireland this weekend provide more than just a stop-gap.
Of the top prizes being contended, the Dublin Chase and Irish Champion Hurdle are maybe the most exciting races on the Saturday, while Sunday’s card at Leopardstown includes the Flogas Novice Chase and Irish Gold Cup.
Pour Soi can reverse for with Plus Tard
Chacun Pour Soi burst onto the scene at Punchestown at the backend of last season, defeating the top class Defi Du Seuil by four lengths, and he’s the big fancy on the Saturday at Leopardstown at 7/4. That form looks rock-solid given Defi Du Seuil is now three from three this term, including wins in the Tingle Creek and Clarence House, and is now favourite for the Champion Chase. Chacun Pour Soi may well have tasted defeat to A Plus Tard last time out, and he lines up in opposition again here, but all of Willie Mullins’ horses have desperately needed their first run this season and he looks set to turn the tables on Gordon Elliott’s charge.
Honeysuckle can climb towards top of Champion Hurdle betting
In receipt of 7lbs and boasting a perfect six from six record, Honeysuckle has to be the pick for the Irish Champion Hurdle. She will face stiff opposition in the form of Mullins’ Matheson Hurdle winner Sharjah, while Klassical Dream could make a return to the winners’ enclosure if recapturing his Supreme Novice Hurdle-winning form of last season. Neither of those two horses have displayed the ‘wow’ factor, though, whereas Honeysuckle has put a combined winning distance of 20 lengths between her and her rivals in her last two starts and she could be something special here at 6/4.
Faugheen has a Battle on his hands
Battleoverdoyen is about the best novice chase we’ve seen on either side of the Irish Sea this season and not even Faugheen may be enough to stop him in his tracks. Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old still has plenty to prove, while 12-year-old Faugheen could retire and remain a legend. It’s hard to pick holes in Faugheen’s 10-length win over Samcro at Limerick on Boxing Day, while his debut over fences wasn’t bad either. However, whilst Faugheen is unlikely to show any further improvement, the young and exciting Battleoverdoyen has the world at his feet and is worth chancing here at the Flogas Novice Chase at 7/4 before going onto bigger things.
Kemboy can take Gold with stamina test expected
Put a line through the Savills Chase and start again. We shouldn’t be judging the credentials of National Hunt racing’s top staying chasers on a slowly run race early on in the season and the Irish Gold Cup looks a better test. With La Bague Au Roi lining up you can be sure they’ll go an honest gallop and that will suit both Kemboy and Presenting Percy. The latter is a little unpredictable, while Kemboy is heavily expected to come on leaps and bounds from his Christmas run and will take all the beating at 7/4 if putting his best foot forward.