Five lessons from the Dublin Festival to take to Cheltenham

The Dublin Gold Cup is one of the premier meetings in the Irish calendar, but rightly or wrongly, the rest of the racing world views it more in the context of being one of the best indicators for the Cheltenham Festival.

The latest tips

From the almost Lazarus-like performance of Edwulf to the growing concerns over former bookmakers’ darling Faugheen, there was certainly plenty to take in. The Twitter tipsters at Racing Bets post daily predictions and tips as the Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer. Here are five of the stories that have attracted their attention.

Edwulf the Brave

After last year’s festival, Edwulf looked like another of racing’s sad casualties. His collapse at the final jump of the National Hunt chase left spectators the world over with a bad taste in their mouths. Initial rumours that the horse had died proved to be premature, but when it was confirmed that he had suffered oxygen starvation and temporary blindness, the prognosis was bleak.

His return to competitive action was therefore miraculous enough, but to go on to win the Gold Cup is the stuff of fairy tales. Surely a repeat performance at Cheltenham would be asking too much? At 25/1 there are certain to be more than a few each way bets.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle just got tougher to call

The opening race of the festival is invariably something of a free-for-all, with as many as 30 entrants. It has a habit of producing surprise winners, but while the bookies have been backing the Willie Mullins trained Getabird as hot favourite, Samcro’s performance in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle has got everyone wondering. He led from the start, and victory never looked in doubt. Those in the know think this could be a very special horse, and whether he ultimately runs in the Ballymore or the Novices Hurdle, he has every chance of beating all comers.

Faugheen in decline?

A few short months ago, the horse nicknamed “the machine” was being tipped as having a real chance in the Champions Hurdle. It all went wrong over Christmas, and Dublin was set to be the great return to form. However, a lacklustre performance had Willie Mullins shaking his head. “He had no spark,” said the veteran trainer. Arch-rival Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air is now 1/2 on to win for the second year running, and Faugheen is looking like an increasingly remote shot, drifting to 8/1.

A new favourite for the Stayer’s Hurdle

The horse that spoiled the party for Faugheen is not to be underestimated. Supasundae has come into form at just the right time, and most of the bookmakers now have the Jessica Harrington trained gelding as favourite to beat Sam Spinner in the Stayer’s Hurdle.

Mullins on the up

Faugheen concerns aside, Willie Mullins will have left Leapordstown a happier man than when he arrived. Doubts over many of his Cheltenham runners were cast aside, and seven winners is an impressive tally. He will look to take Henderson on in his own back yard next month, and the likes of Min, Footpad and Total Hero have the potential to win him plenty more silverware.

Photo by Pete Davies