The opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown belonged to Willie Mullins with Ireland's champion trainer claiming four winners, three of which were Grade 1 events. Chacun Pour Soi produced another awesome display to win the Dublin Chase for a second consecutive year. The lightly raced nine year old swept aside both Fakir D'Oudairies and Notebook as though they were standing still approaching the final fence before pulling clear on the run-in to win by eight lengths. The Policy Maker gelding has won four Grade 1 races over fences and it will take a mighty effort to beat him in the Queen Mother Champion Chase next month, one of the few high profile races yet to feature on his trainer's illustrious CV.
Gaillard Du Mesnil provided the French Revolution section in One Jump Ahead with a Grade 1 victory in the staying novice hurdle which opened the card. An easy winner at the same track over the Festive period, the Saint Des Saints gelding is improving with each start and took the rise in class in his stride. Stretching away after the last, he booked his place in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham where he will be a formidable opponent to Bravemansgame and Bob Olinger. Longer-term, he is one to look forward to over fences next winter.
Honeysuckle won the Irish Champion Hurdle last season and Henry De Bromhead's brilliant mare was even more impressive this time around with a stunning performance. Rachel Blackmore sent the daughter of Sulamani to the front towards the end of the backstraight and she quickly settled the issue sprinting clear after the second last. A ten lengths winner, she extended her unbeaten record to eleven races and recorded her sixth Grade 1 win and arguably her best display yet. The seven year old is expected to go head to head with another top-class mare Epatante in the Champion Hurdle in March. It is a mouth watering prospect.
As discussed, the Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead have been in excellent form and Sporting John (14/1) came back from the wilderness to win the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown. Philip Hobbs' gelding was a high-class novice over hurdles last season until underperforming at the Festival. Disappointing at Exeter on his chasing debut, his trainer couldn't find anything wrong with him afterwards. Plunged in at the deep end here, he was behind early on but warmed to his task under Richard Johnson before outstaying his rivals. The front runner went hard enough in testing conditions and it played into the Getaway gelding's hands. A three and three quarters of a length winner, it was the Minehead based handler's second win in the race following Defi Du Seuil's victory two years ago.
Finally, well done to Donald McCain who sent out his 50th winner of the campaign. Gaelik Coast (85/40) featured in Donald's interview in the February Update and the Cheshire trainer suggested a step up to two and a half miles would suit the former pointer. That proved the case as he readily pulled nearly five lengths clear of Getaway Trump.
Those loyal clients who have been purchasing One Jump Ahead for a number of years will be fully aware that Chacun Pour Soi, Energumene and Gaelik Coast have all featured in the Top 40 Prospects in recent seasons. I remember backing Energumene ante-post for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival bumper and he never even ran that season. Patience is a virtue, apparently.
“Thank you for a very successful and profitable email service. My personal highlight was the win of Aloomomo whose romp round Uttoxeter was a joy. Keep up the good work with all your services, the books and updates, they are simply the best by a very long way.”
“Just want to say thanks for running the service again this year, I have ended up with a nice £756 profit from it so I'm obviously very happy with that so thanks a lot!”
“Thanks for your email Mark would just like to say your selections and insight has been awesome. Keep up the good work sir your service is the best.”
“Thank you for an excellent tipping service throughout the three months. It has been a pleasure and profitable to be a member of your service. Your indepth knowledge and analysis of the race has been excellent. I honestly rate your service as one of the best and most profitable.”
“Thanks very much for the fantastic service you have supplied, I have been involved with racing tipsters for over 30 years and never had as good a strike rate as yourself, out of this world.”
“The email service as usual has been brilliant and this season's OJA seems to continue to unearth amazing insight if you have the time to trust and follow it in detail over a period. Thanks as always for your outstanding value for money publications.”
“Superb information again Mark, I managed to get some 11/4, will certainly pay for Xmas. Different class.”
“Awesome result the magicman strikes again. Won with plenty in hand and not a moments worry great write up spot on again and results speak for themselves best service I've tried, keep up the fantastic work sir. Very happy customer!”
Mark Howard Publications Ltd.
69 Fairgarth Drive