Dublin Festival Day 1: Saint Roi seeks Irish Arkle upset

February 3rd, 2023

Day one of the Dublin Festival at Leopardstown features four Grade 1 races. We will focus on one of the most open of these, the Irish Arkle for 2-mile novice steeplechasers, and look at some spot plays for the others.

Race 3: Irish Arkle Novice Chase (G1), 2 1/8 miles, novice steeplechasers

Irish Arkle Selections

  • #6 Saint Roi
  • #1 Appreciate It
  • #3 Dysart Dynamo
  • #2 Banbridge

Irish Arkle Wagers

  • $10 win/$20 show: #6 Saint Roi
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 6 with 1, 3, 6 with 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Willie Mullins provides five of the eight runners here. His main rider, Paul Townend, has been on most of them, and he’s decided to ride #1 Appreciate It, an easy winner of his only two steeplechases. He is understandably the local market leader, but jockeys don’t always get it right, and I don’t regard him as a certainty.

The Mullins runner I like most is #6 Saint Roi. Racing in the colors of JP McManus, he beat #7 Visionarian and #8 Fil Dor in the Novice Chase (G1) at Leopardstown Dec. 26. McManus’ retained jockey, Mark Walsh, rides, and he could be at false odds.

I wouldn’t overlook the other Mullins runners, particularly the dashing #3 Dysart Dynamo, who will likely set a strong gallop, and #4 El Fabiolo. Of the non-Mullins participants, the one to watch is probably Joseph O’Brien’s #2 Banbridge, who will probably enjoy coming back to 2 1/8 miles.

Race 1: Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle (G1), 2 3/4 miles, novice hurdlers

This novice staying hurdle looks fairly open. Barry Connell’s #5 Good Land and Mullins’ #7 Quais De Paris could contest favoritism, but I’m going to support #2 American Mike, who should enjoy the distance. I’m also not going to leave out the English visitor, #9 Weveallbeencaught.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #2 American Mike
  • $1 exacta: box 2, 5, 7, 9

Race 2: Spring Juvenile Hurdle (G1), 2 miles, 4-year-old hurdlers

The money here is very much on #8 Lossiemouth, unbeaten over hurdles. She hasn’t been troubled to date, and it’s hard to go past her.

The only one I’d consider taking her on with is #3 Gust Of Wind, a stablemate whose only previous start brought about a victory in France and is an unknown quantity here. I’m going to use her as a potential exacta combination with Lossiemouth.

  • $20 win: #8 Lossiemouth
  • $2 exacta: box 3, 8

Race 4, 10:05 a.m. ET: Irish Gold Cup (G1), 3 miles, open steeplechasers

The hotpot in this race is #4 Galopin Des Champs, who would be unbeaten over big fences but for falling at the last in the Turners Novice Chase (G1) at Cheltenham last year when well in front.

If there is a danger, it’s likely to be #6 Stattler, who was just beaten by former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo at Tramore last start. I’m going to focus on him in bets here along with the favorite.

  • $40 place: #6 Stattler
  • $3 trifecta: 4 with 6 with all
  • $1 trifecta: 6 with 4 with all