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With anticipation and excitement levels sky-high for the 2022 renewal of the Cheltenham Festival, as racegoers are set to flock through the gates of Prestbury Park at record heights after last year’s meeting was held behind closed doors, the recent Dublin Racing Festival has only added more fuel to the fire — with Ireland’s finest on show at Leopardstown in a bid to finalise their preparations ahead of next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
There were plenty of favourites at the fore of the racing results, with the bookmakers particularly bashed by the boisterous punters on day two of meeting, while there were also a few surprise horses in the winners’ enclosure as well. But most importantly, it has given us a great final insight of form and quality ahead of Cheltenham. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at four horses who will be out for more success at Prestbury Park after a fine time at Leopardstown.
Conflated – Gold Cup
Perhaps the most surprising name when checking the fast horse racing results from Paddy Power, Conflated caused an almighty upset to win the Irish Gold Cup from 18/1 on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival. It was proving to be a day for Willie Mullins as he won three of the first four races, but it was Gordon Elliott who took the spoils in the feature race as Davy Russell guided his eight-year-old to a six-and-a-half length victory over Minella Indo. Conflated’s Cheltenham Gold Cup odds have since been slashed from 100/1 to around 10/1 and the Blue Ribband contest is looking as wide open as ever.
Blue Lord – Arkle Challenge Trophy
Second favourite behind Riviere D’etel in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase ante-post market, Mullins’ Blue Lord put Elliott’s favourite to the sword in the two-mile, one furlong race — holding off the five-year-old to win by little more than half a length. The seven-year-old was arguably lucky to win with interference and a mistake at the last costing Riviere D’etel, but you can take nothing away from Blue Lord in victory and Mullins will be hoping that he’s back in the winners’ enclosure at Prestbury Park following the Arkle — where he could reignite that rivalry with Riviere D’etel.
Galopin Des Champs – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Already fancied to win the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, Galopin Des Champs really cemented himself as one you need to back at the meeting with a commanding victory in a Grade 1 Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival. The six-year-old went clear on the run-in and stayed on well to win by a comfortable nine lengths clear of Master McShee. Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame will be worthy competition, but Mullins’ novice should have too much in the tank once again.
Honeysuckle – Champion Chase
We could spend all day talking about Mullins’ contingent, with Dublin Racing Festival winners Sir Gerhard, Chacun Pour Soi, Vauban and so on all Cheltenham hopefuls, but let’s turn our attention to the brilliant Honeysuckle for our final selection. We’ve ran out of superlatives to describe Henry de Bromhead’s prized mare at this stage, with the eight-year-old winning the Irish Champion Hurdle to extend her incredible unbeaten record to 14. Two wins by a combined 14 and a half lengths this season, it’s hard to see anyone getting anywhere near Honeysuckle as she defends her Champion Chase crown at Prestbury Park.