Renowned horse racing tipster and journalist Ed Quigley aka “Longshot Ted” offers his best bets for Saturday & Sunday’s ITV action, and picks out some of the other horses that made him sit up and take notice, of what should be a stunning sports weekend.
We’ve all been caughtLeopardstown 1.20 – William Hill
DolosSandown 1.45, NAP – BetVictor
WedgeMusselburgh 2.03 – Unibet
MonmiralSandown 2.20 – William Hill
Ballygriffin CottageWetherby 2.40 – BetUK
Banbridge e/w, Leopardstown 2.30 – BetVictor
StatesmanLeopardstown 3.10 – Bet Victor
It’s X-Rated this weekend as we have two days of spellbinding action, as the Dublin Racing Festival arrives. Some of the game’s superstars are on display, all looking to enhance their already building reputations. With a Tier 1 map at Sandown, among others, there’s plenty to be excited about over the next two days.
Bet on the Dublin Racing Festival with BetVictor
The ‘DRF’ kicks off at 1:20 a.m. Saturday, and I think the British raider WE WERE ALL TAKEN should not be underestimated in the 2m6f Grade 1 Hurdle for Novices. The Nigel Twiston-Davies team will be confident of a bold display here from the 6-year-old, whose collateral form looks solid. He finished third behind Challow Hurdle winner Hermes Allen on his hurdles debut, then improved to beat Rock My Way at Cheltenham on New Years Day. The form of this race worked beautifully, with Syd Hosie’s rep coming out and winning the Grade 2 Ballymore event. Weveallbeencaught should thrive traveling for this mission, and it wouldn’t shock me if it was a successful voyage across the Irish Sea.
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Direction the room of Esher, and it is in the 1.45 that I stick to a proven formula, with the veteran DOLO is looking to get another win on his resume at Sandown. Paul Nicholls has his rope in sparkling form, and this gelding, who loves Sandown, can come back here in the winner’s paddock. He has a record of three wins and three ranked efforts in eight starts at the track, and 146 is just 3 pounds heavier than 12 months ago. When you break him down specifically, his form numbers in this race read 21121. Harry Cobden is in the saddle and can challenge the weight of 12 stone here.
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The Isles of Scilly at 2.20 are a small but select field, with many eyes naturally focusing on Irish raider Gerri Colombe. I have no doubt he is the class act in the business, and if there was one horse to be turned into a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender 12 months from now it would be that one. However, on a ground that is perhaps a little sharper than ideal for him, it must be a concern. MONMIRAL has acquitted himself well so far, chasing Jonbon home on his Warwick debut and then finishing second to the Dipper at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. I think that 2m4f will fit, and Sandown is a track where he can use his deft jump to best effect.
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Scottish Racing fans will be eagerly awaiting an exciting card as Musselburgh host the Edinburgh National (2.03). Ben Pauling’s Cotswold yard has had a great time this season, with 63 winners so far, with a healthy 23 per cent strike rate, and I wouldn’t be shocked if WEDGE had the ability to challenge the highest weight and an official mark of 140. The eight-year-old jumped and traveled beautifully in his victory at Fontwell on his last visit, and looks capable of challenging a weight increase of 7 books. He’s on an upward curve and can successfully book his ticket to the big one at Aintree here.
We shouldn’t forget Wetherby, with Towton’s Year 2 Novice pursuit taking center stage. BALLYGRIFFIN COTTAGE should be a class of its own, and provided there’s enough juice in the ground, it can blast its rivals to shreds. The 8-year-old Dan Skelton had a fascinating round of jumps on his Chase debut as he cruised to success by 11 lengths at Haydock in November. Up to 3m here he can lay down a marker for the Cheltenham Festival.
Bet on Ballygriffin Cottage in William Hill
On Sunday, the action does not falter, and I think KILCRUIT might be able to cause an upset (1.40). It’s a tough race, but at the top of his form over hurdles he wouldn’t be without screaming. He was far from disgraced in a Grade 1 in Limerick over the Christmas period, and I think he could blossom up to 2m5f for the first time. He’s versatile when it comes to the pitch, and in a race where I think you can tell the contenders’ claims apart, it wouldn’t be a shock if the 8-year-old lost his chances. Five of the six runners are coached by Willie Mullins, Sean O’Keefe circling on the supposed ‘third rope’ of the Closutton yard and he is not expected to be sacked as they seek to overthrow coached hot favorite Mighty Potter by Gordon Elliott.
Bet on Kilcruit at BetVictor
The Irish Arch (2.30) looks like one of the best Novice Chases in recent years where Willie Mullins has a quintet that needs to go to post. The competition may be way too hot, but I think Banbridge could be the forgotten horse in this formation. He has winning form on 2m4f, but he clearly didn’t sit this trip to Fairyhouse on very soft ground, and this run seems to suit him. I imagine there will be a lot of pace here with Dysart Dynamo and Appreciate It on the pitch, and imagine Banbridge will be ridden with a bit of restraint at a blistering pace which will suit him well and he looks like a one-sided player.
Bet on The Irish Arkle at Betway
Without a doubt, the clash of the weekend is in the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday (3.10). State Man v Honeysuckle v Vauban is a race to savor, and could be one of the races of the season. Honeysuckle lost his unbeaten record in the Hatton’s Grace last time out, which may not have been as disappointing as first impressions would have us believe, given the later form of Galmoy Hurdle winner Teahupoo. The powerful mare will be looking to regain her crown, but I think it can go in the direction of STATESMAN. The 6-year-old has progressed well, winning three Grade 1s on the rebound, and he can continue the winning streak here before he has a crack at Constitution Hill in Cheltenham next month.
Don’t forget that Ed will be back on Monday with his weekend review, discussing all the key talking points and fallout from the big races.
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