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The Racing Week Ahead: Leopardstown takes centre stage

The Dublin Racing Festival is the highlight of the action this week with the two-day meeting at Leopardstown featuring the Irish Gold Cup, Irish Champion Hurdle, Dublin Chase and Irish Arkle Novice Chase.

In the UK on Saturday, the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase is the feature race from Sandown, while at Wetherby, the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase is on their schedule.

All the UK and Irish action can be followed via our Sports Live Streaming platform and here's a day-by-day look ahead to the racing week in store from 30th January - 5th February.

Monday 30th January

The week begins with racing from Punchestown (12.47-4.17), Hereford (1.15-4.40), Plumpton (1.30-4.24), Huntingdon (1.40-4.30) and Wolverhampton (AW) (5.30-8.30). 

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend could be set for a big afternoon at Punchestown as they combine with Diverge (12.47), Pink In The Park (1.57) and Sir Argus (2.32), all three of which have strong chances. The card will also see former Prix du Cadran winner Princess Zoe make her debut over hurdles. The talented mare features in a maiden hurdle at 1.57.

Tuesday 31st January

Racing on Tuesday comes from Limerick (12.25-3.52), Newcastle (12.50-4.20), Ffos Las (1.05-4.35), Lingfield (1.15-4.10) and Southwell (AW) (5.00-8.30).

At Ffos Las, Venetia Williams introduces a recruit from France. Zertakt has been successful three times so far in his career, including a victory at Auteuil on his latest start.

He has been handed an opening handicap mark of 127, which means he needs to carry top weight on his UK debut at 2.50.

Wednesday 1st February

Five meetings take place in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday. Ayr (12.45-4.10) get things underway and is then followed by jumps racing from Leicester (1.25-4.20) and Exeter (1.35-4.30), while Dundalk (1.42-5.12) and Kempton (5.00-8.00) race on their all-weather surfaces.

At Exeter, the novice chase at 2.10 is the pick of the action in Devon.

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Ballygrifincottage made a winning debut over fences for Dan Skelton when he scored at Haydock earlier in the campaign. The 145-rated chaser is the standout runner for this 3m contest.

Thursday 2nd February

Four racecourses host racing on Thursday in the UK. The day begins with AW action from Southwell (1.20-4.35).

Jumps cards follow from Wincanton (1.30-4.45) and Fakenham (1.40-4.25), while there is an all-weather meeting at Chelmsford (5.30-8.30) to end the day.

The Dick Hunt Trophy is the feature race at Wincanton at 3.00. Jonjo O’Neill has entered Iron Bridge, a horse who has made a strong start to his chase career, with two wins coming from three outings. He is set to face hat-trick seeking and C&D winner Certainly Red from Lydia Richards’ yard.

Friday 3rd February

Catterick (1.10-4.12), Lingfield (AW) (12.40-3.40), Chepstow (1.30-4.30) and Newcastle (AW) (4.30-7.45) feature on Friday’s schedule.

The mares take centre stage at Catterick at 3.40 for a handicap chase. Four-time hurdles winner Bellatrixsa is featuring over fences for just the second time in her career. Venetia Williams’ runner could only finish fourth on her chase debut, but she is now up against her own sex.

Over at Chepstow, Williams is represented by Haydock winner Easy As That as he bids for his second victory in three outings over fences when he lines up in a novice chase at 3.00.

Saturday 4th February

It is day one of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown (1.20-4.40). This is one of the biggest weekends of the year on the Irish jumps calendar.

The Irish Gold Cup takes place at 3.05 and it includes Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs, as he bids to enhance his reputation further. Galopin Des Champs is 4/11 To Win the Irish Gold Cup.

Dysart Dynamo and Appreciate It are scheduled to meet in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase at 2.30, while at 1.55, red-hot Triumph Hurdle favourite Lossiemouth is in action as she looks to maintain her 100% record.

Lingfield (AW) (12.10-3.36), Sandown (12.35-4.03), Wetherby (1.00-4.30), Musselburgh (1.28-4.20) and Kempton (AW) (5.30-8.30) are all also on the schedule on a busy Saturday. The Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase takes place at 2.20 at Sandown, while the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase comes at 2.45 at Wetherby.

Sunday 5th February

It is day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown (1.10-4.40). Willie Mullins holds all the aces in the Dublin Chase field at 2.10, as he has four entries, including three-time Grade One winning chaser Blue Lord, as he looks to successfully follow up from his C&D victory here over the festive period.

The Irish Champion Hurdle could be set to be a fascinating contest at 3.10. The field includes State Man for Mullins and Honeysuckle, who will be looking to bounce back from the first defeat of her career. Henry de Bromhead’s runner is bidding for her fourth straight success in this race.

Blue Lord is 2/7 To Win the Dublin Chase, while Gentleman De Mee is available at 6/1. Meanwhile, State Man is 4/5 To Win the Irish Champion Hurdle and Honeysuckle 2/1.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Musselburgh (1.22-4.25) and Hereford (1.33-4.33) both host seven-race jumps cards.

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