The Irish horse racing scene celebrates one of its newest members in the form of the Dublin Racing Festival.

Whilst it’s only been around since 2018, the event now attracts tens of thousands of race goers from around Europe in what’s a mightily impressive display of racing.

The fact that the festival is held within the party city of Dublin has likely paid dividends in the popularity of the event.

Even though it’s only been running for a short period of time, it includes 8 Grade 1 races over the two-day festival and with almost £2 million in prize money.

Whilst the festival in its current form is new, it’s actually an amalgamation of several meetings that were held throughout the months of January and February at the Leopardstown racetrack.

The major races from these meetings have been merged into one to create a single “super meeting” instead.

The Dublin Racing Festival is actually a very important part of the jumps season as it works as a vital pre-Cheltenham meeting.

This allows trainers, jockeys and punters a first look at a host of horses that may run well at the Grand National 2023.

13:40 Ladbrokes Novice Chase (Grade 1) – 2m5f

Adamantly Chosen

– Trained by Willie Mullins

He has been struggling to get back to the same level of firm that saw him win back to back chases last autumn.

He has been well beaten at this level each time he has attempted it so far and I expect no different today.

He was beaten twenty-eight lengths by Mighty Potter in December and will find it extremely difficult to turn that form around.

Gaillard Du Mesnil

– Trained by Willie Mullins

He has improved since being given a solid break from racing. A good third on his seasonal reappearance to Mighty Potter was followed by a confidence boosting seven-and-a-half length win here over three miles in a Grade One novices’ chase.

If Mighty Potter fails to give his running, this seven-year-old gelding will be there to pick up the pieces.

I Am Maximus

– Trained by Willie Mullins

He is extremely lightly raced and was well beaten over this course and distance last time by Bravemansgame.

He is extremely inexperienced and will well to finish. Unlikely to be troubling the judge.

James De Berlais

– Trained by Willie Mullins

He has won a Grade Three race in his time albeit over in Auteuil. The seven-year-old made a pleasing comeback following two years away from the track winning by fifteen lengths at Fairyhouse.

He could still be improving but needs to prove that he is capable at delivering at this highest level.

Kilcruit

– Trained by Willie Mullins

Has always been well touted but has ultimately proved disappointing. He won a run of the mill chase on his seasonal debut this season, but was then beaten by Gerri Colombe at Limerick a month later.

Tends to fold when pressure is applied and he looks up against it here.

Mighty Potter

– Trained by Gordon Elliott

A proven Grade One winner as he landed the Drinmore Novices’ Chase at Fairyhouse back in December where he comfortably saw off Gaillard Du Mesnil and Adamantly Chosen.

He can confirm the form with those two here despite the extra yardage. He was a winning Grade One hurdler and has transferred that ability to the larger fences.

Summary

There are lots of question marks over some of these runners. MIGHTY POTTER is the most consistent of them though and having won six of his last eight races, he really does look a star in the making.

Something clearly went wrong at Cheltenham last year but recovered from that and has won three races on the bounce since.

He has taken to fences well and should have too much in hand for the remaining Willie Mullins brigade. Gaillard Du Mesnil is taken to follow the selection home.

14:10 – Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) – 2m1f

Blue Lord

– Trained by Willie Mullins

Thrives on his racing particularly at home in Ireland where he has won all six of his chases including at multiple Grade Ones.

The most recent of those came over this course and distance where he put almost a dozen lengths between himself and the runner-up.

He stays further than this so stamina is guaranteed and he comes here in peak fitness. He looks the one they all have to beat as Willie Mullins seeks a sixth consecutive win in this race.

Dunvegan

– Trained by Peter Fahey

A highly experienced chaser but is more at home in handicaps that Grade Ones. Seems to save his best for Fairyhouse.

A nineteen length defeat inflicted on him by Edwardstone back in December sums up his chances whenever tried at this level.

Fastorslow

– Trained by Martin Brassil

Was last seen finishing twenty-one lengths behind Galopin Des Champs in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown.

He has been placed in a Grade Three previously but he looks hopelessly out of his depth here.

Gentleman De Mee

– Trained by Willie Mullins

Gentleman De Mee is still only relatively lightly raced. He has forty-one lengths to find with the re-opposing Blue Lord based on their recent meeting over this course and distance.

He seems to have lost the plot since racking up a hat-trick of chase wins last spring. This looks too tough an assignment.

Sceau Royale

– Trained by Alan King

Sceau Royale has been sparingly campaigned for the last few seasons. He is capable at listed and Grade Two races but has not won at this level in six years.

He is usually a sound jumper of his fences and he looks the most likely to chase home the favourite.

Summary

BLUE LORD has looked the perfect specimen of a chaser so far this season and there is no reason that should not continue.

He is still only an eight-year-old and is bidding to give Willie Mullins a sixth consecutive win in this very race.

Paul Townend is back on board this afternoon and the pair can utilise their previous winning course and distance form to their advantage.

Of the others, Sceau Royale is trusted the most to complete in second to give the owners a bumper pay day.

15:10 Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m

Pied Piper

– Trained by Gordon Elliott

Looks to be completely out of his depth against several high performing stars. Would need a career best and was beaten out of sight by the re-opposing State Man last time out.

He is on a recovery mission and there will be brighter days ahead for him.

State Man

– Trained by Willie Mullins

Could not have been impressive than when beating stablemate Vauban here by a little over four lengths in the Matheson Hurdle.

Improving at a rate of knots but this is the sternest opposition he has faced in his career to date. Undefeated in his last five career starts and has to be respected.

Takarengo

– Trained by Thomas Mullins

Is no more than a handicapper and his price will suggest what overall chance he has.

He is not the most consistent and looks totally out of his league here.

Vauban

– Trained by Willie Mullins

He served it up to stablemate Vauban over this course and distance last time and he could well turn the tables now that he has had the benefit of a recent run.

The winner of last years’ Triumph Hurdle, he has to command respect and rider Danny Mullins will be keen for revenge.

Zanahiyr

– Trained by Gordon Elliott

Looked previously looked progressive and now looks the complete opposite. Zanahiyr has run disappointingly in each of his last three starts.

Even if he was back to his best, he would be up against it here, so the writing looks very much to be on the wall for him.

Honeysuckle

– Trained by Henry De Bromhead

She may have lost her crown when not fully firing on her seasonal reappearance, but Honeysuckle knows every blade of grass on this track.

She is a multiple course and distance winner and is a proven Champion. Whilst she needs to leave that last run behind, it would not be the biggest of shocks if she were to be seen back in the winners’ enclosure. The one to beat.

Summary

HONEYSUCKLE can get back to winning ways here as Henry De Bromhead will have worked her plenty at home since being defeated for the first time on her last appearance at Fairyhouse.

She is likely to strip much fitter for that run and getting seven pounds from her male counterparts will help as much as it has done in the past.

She has been a star and she can command the spotlight once again in what will be another difficult race.

15:40 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m

Dark Raven

– Trained by Willie Mullins
The form of his recent win over this course and distance was recently franked by Doctor Bravo at Down Royal.

He represents top connections and is well deserving of this step up in grade. He still lacks relative experience but he looks like another decent recruit to the team at Closutton.

Facile Vega

– Trained by Willie Mullins

The son of Quevega and Walk In The Park. Unbeaten in six outings including three times over this course and distance.

He has acquitted himself well and answered every query ever posed by Paul Townend.

Given his liking for this track, he has to have every chance of extending that unbeaten run here.

High Definition

– Trained by Joseph O’Brien

Lacks the experience of some of these, but he could not have been any more impressive than when dispensing with Jetara over this course and distance last time out.

He was a fair performer on the flat but he looks to have an even brighter future in this sphere. He commands respect representing a top yard.

Il Etait Temps

– Trained by Willie Mullins

Got to within four lengths of his stablemate Facile Vega over this course and distance last time. He only has a maiden win to his name, so he really needs to improve again.

Inthepocket

– Trained by Henry De Bromhead

Stepped up to Grade 2 company following his maiden win and took the opportunity well when getting the better of Three Card Brag.

That rival has come out and won convincingly since, so the form has been well advertised. Not impossible to rule out further improvement, but if there is to be an upset he can cause it.

Irish Point

– Trained by Gordon Elliott

He has proved he can mix it with the best as he has finished runner-up in both the Lawlors’ of Naas and the Royal Bond Hurdles.

This is equally as daunting a task that he has faced but no surprise to see him go well with Davy Russell on board once more. Likely to be in the mix.

No Looking Back

– Trained by Oliver McKiernan
Is well worth his place in the line-up having gotten the better of Brazil last time out at Limerick. He comes into the race as a lively outsider.

If the ground were to turn bottomless it would be more to his liking. He is likely to run well for a long way before finding at least a couple too good but remains of interest for the future.

Summary

FACILE VEGA remains undefeated and has proved to be the protégé of elite breeding. His parents were both Champions and he looks as though he is of similar ilk.

A winner of his previous six races all over this trip including three times at this track, he is very much the one to beat in preparation for a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival next month.

[insert page=’x-snippets/paddypower-promo’ display=’content’]