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Dublin Racing Festival – Day Two Preview

05 Feb 2023

Day two of the Dublin Racing Festival serves up another treat with four Grade 1’s to enjoy throughout the afternoon. The feature is undoubtedly the Irish Champion Hurdle, which see’s Honeysuckle go for her fourth straight win in the race.

15:10 Irish Champion Hurdle

If it wasn’t for Constitution Hill’s presence, we’d likely be talking about what a good thing State Man is for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Willie Mullins’ six-year-old has won both the Morgiana and the Matheson with ease, races that have served as excellent trials for the Champion Hurdle in recent years.

While State Man has shown a brilliant level of form so far in his short career, giving Honeysuckle 7lb will undoubtedly be the toughest tasks he has faced, even considering the fact Henry De Bromhead’s mare might not quite be the force she once was.

Honeysuckle suffered the first defeat of her distinguished career when behind Teahupoo and Klassical Dream in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse back in December. While it was a disappointing result, it was nowhere near as bad a run as people were suggesting at the time, and back over a C&D she clearly relishes, it would be no surprise were Henry De Bromhead’s star mare to return to winning ways on Sunday.

It's no secret that Willie Mullins didn’t quite have Vauban where he wanted him fitness-wise leading up to the Matheson Hurdle, but he lost little in defeat that day, and with that run under his belt, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if he were to turn the tables with stablemate State Man.


Three to follow on Day Two at Leopardstown

14:40 – Vanillier

While this former Albert Bartlett winner has yet to fulfil his potential over fences, there are plenty of reasons to suggest he can go close dropping into handicap company for the first time.

His only win over fences came at this sort of trip when winning by a wide-margin at Punchestown back in 2021, and if the first-time cheekpieces can sharpen him up, then he could certainly be handicapped to win a race like this off a mark of 145.

Hot Form: Trainer Gavin Cromwell had two winners on Day One at Leopardstown with Perceval Legallois (4/1) and Final Orders (9/2) which took him to four winners from just his last six runners.

16:10 – Gaelic Warrior

Thought to be one of the best handicapped horses in training when just beaten off 129 in the Boodles Juvenile at Cheltenham last year, Gaelic Warrior has bounced back with two facile victories so far this term.

He made all to beat Blue Sari with the minimum of fuss at Clonmel last time, and off a mark of 143, he should take some stopping, even in a race as competitive as this.

16:40 – Fun Fun Fun

While the bare form of the race she won at Sligo back in October can be crabbed, the manner of that victory certainly can’t, and Fun Fun Fun could be the next high-class mare to come out Closutton.

She travelled noticeably well from off the pace under Patrick Mullins that day and won with any amount in hand, so with possibility of another strong pace to aim at, she could come there cruising round the home bend once again.

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