Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders bids to follow up 16/1 and 7/4 winners in his previous column with five selections on a superb opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
bet365’s enhanced place terms are worth exploiting with FINE MARGIN, despite the heavy support he has received since final declarations.
Fine Margin split a well-backed Emmet Mullins-trained winner and subsequent Grade 1 scorer Crambo on his stable debut for Willie Mullins in the top handicap hurdle at Haydock on Betfair Chase day when last seen. That is excellent form and he was weak in the betting there, so he must be feared off a 3lb lower Irish hurdles mark.
The lightly raced seven-year-old is open to further improvement as a staying hurdler and Mullins has entered him for the Albert Bartlett, which appears significant for one with his rating.
This would seem an ideal stepping stone for whichever target he presumably takes up at the Cheltenham Festival next month.
Four-runner Grade 1 races with an odds-on favourite are seldom good betting heats but I’m taking a chance on the huge price on Irish Gold Cup outsider I AM MAXIMUS to down Galopin Des Champs and Fastorslow.
Were I Am Maximus arriving here on the back of his impressive success over Found A Fifty in the Drinmore, he’d be a much shorter price, and he can build on his fourth-placed finish behind Galopin Des Champs in the Savills.
That was his first start in top-class staying chase company and he should be all the better for the experience, while it is worth remembering he was backed all the way down to 6/1 for that assignment.
He is the one we essentially know the least about and, with no Gold Cup entry at Cheltenham - unlike Galopin Des Champs and Fastorslow who will likely have one eye on that contest next month - this could be the occasion we see the best of I Am Maximus.
The 2m1f handicap chase is another race Bet365 are boosting the place terms for and the one to appeal most is THE BIG CHAP, who could be underestimated for trainer Paul Flynn.
A defeat of subsequent Grade 1 runner-up and Arkle hope My Mate Mozzie in a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse in October (the selection’s first completed start over fences) makes The Big Chap interestingly treated off a mark of 137.
That is 3lb higher than when he ran a corker in the equivalent event at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, when a wayward jump at the last cost him any chance of victory as he kept on for second.
If Donagh Meyler can keep him on the straight and narrow this time, The Big Chap can reverse the form of that running with shorter-priced The Folkes Tiara off 3lb better terms. This could have been his big target.
I wouldn’t have too many bets in bumpers all season but I’ll be tucking into two in the Grade 2 contest that concludes the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival.
I have to be against odds-on favourite A Dream To Share on his first start in 283 days under a 3lb penalty in light of the physical issues that have caused his connections to keep him in bumpers this term. That he isn’t hurdling has to be negative.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a plunge on REDEMPTION DAY, who was of a similar standard in bumpers to A Dream To Share two seasons ago, has a recent run behind him and is the pick of Patrick Mullins from five runners trained by his father Willie.
Redemption Day shaped excellently when second over course and distance at this meeting in December, travelling like the best horse but simply racing way too keenly for his own good, compromising his finishing effort behind one who is now a short price for the Champion Bumper.
If Patrick Mullins can settle him better this time, and he builds on that promising comeback, he can down a potentially undercooked A Dream To Share.
At much bigger odds, JEROBOAM MACHIN is also worth playing for the shrewd Emmet Mullins and Paul Byrne combination.
Jeroboam Machin’s smooth bumper defeat at Fairyhouse in November of the smart DB Cooper, who followed home Supreme dark horse No Flies On Him at the Christmas meeting here, reads well, particularly as the runner-up was getting 5lb.
It would be of little surprise if the money also came for this five-year-old with Derek O’Connor booked for the ride.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.