Dublin Racing Festival Review & Ultima Handicap Chase Fancy

In the fourth edition of his 2020 Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post series, Diarmuid Nolan reviews the Dublin Racing Festival and lands on a 20/1 shot for the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Dublin Racing Festival Review & Ultima Handicap Chase Fancy


TipOddsBet with
Any Second Now to win the Ultima20/1Unibet

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The Dublin Racing Festival was simply superb. It was everything magical about the sport of kings rolled into two days.

The amount of quality on display was immense and the perpetual brilliance of Faugheen just capped it all off.

The Machine

I've been in Leopardstown on some unforgettable days such as when the brave Carlingford Lough won the Irish Gold Cup on AP McCoy's last ever ride in Ireland and of course, the day Hurricane Fly won his final Irish Champion Hurdle. Sunday felt every bit as special.

The appreciation from the crowd poured out into a cacophony of emotion and it was an unforgettable scene as the heroic Faugheen came back into the enclosure after taking the Flogas Novice Chase. There was a ridiculous amount of punters trying to get a look at their champion and Faugheen earmarked himself as one of the absolute greats.

Now, to coldly look at the form it is not something I'd be getting excited about as I don't particularly rate Easy Game and the others just didn't really fire. I wouldn't be going to the Cheltenham Festival with the Machine really, but who cares? Faugheen won his "Gold Cup" and that's all that matters.

On Battleoverdoyen, who fell when beaten at the last, I wouldn't be completely dismissing him now heading into the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, albeit I was very disappointed in him.

The ground and trip just wouldn't have suited him and he looked spent at the end. He jumped superbly and was taking lengths from his competitors at every fence and looked very comfortable. He just emptied coming to the last as he probably wanted softer ground, definitely wants further and was just put in his place by a very good horse.

I'll be looking elsewhere now in the RSA, but I wouldn't at all be shocked were Battleoverdoyen to go close in March if the ground was to be more suitable. He might even drift out to a nice price on the day.

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Best Of The Rest

He might not have won the opening race of the festival, but I'm not anywhere near giving up on Fury Road going into the Albert Bartlett.

It all went wrong for him on Saturday, but in the end he wasn't really all that far behind them despite not running anywhere near his best. Latest Exhibition was a great winner for Paul Nolan and Bryan Cooper, two men who have been waiting a long time to get back into the big time. Their day in the sun had finally arrived and you could only be delighted for them.

Elixir D'ainay ran here also and cost himself any chance by pulling far too hard. Hopefully connections might look at dropping him back in trip. He would be terribly intriguing going from the front in a Supreme Novices Hurdle as I said in the previous Novice Hurdlers preview.

Chacun Pour Soi won the Dublin Chase, but I wasn't blown away by it all to be honest. He didn't hit the line like I really wanted him to. If he can add that to his game he takes a lot of stopping as his jumping is near perfection. The move he made mid-race to get closer to the front was something special too. He's a very good horse, but I won't deviate from Altior in the Champion Chase as of yet anyway.

As much as I really like Abacadbras (and potentially Elixir D'ainay if they run him) for the Supreme, Asterion Forlonge will take a lot of stopping. He was superb on Sunday, and is the one to beat now in the division. I love the way he jumps and devours the ground - you could see him bounding up the hill after running them ragged in the Supreme in five weeks time.

Delta Work did what I thought he would as well in the Irish Gold Cup. Kemboy and Presenting Percy won't be winning at Cheltenham and it was great to see the RSA form boosted. Santini can win the Gold Cup and I think he will!

On the #racehour podcast we adore Honeysuckle and she looks Mares Hurdle bound after holding on to win the Irish Champion Hurdle. She wasn't exactly brilliantly convincing, but she deserves a bit more slack than she's being given. It was her first time running left handed, her first time racing against horses that good over 2 miles and she's still learning her trade!

I'm thrilled to have her on side for the Mares Hurdle and she showed serious battling abilities in the end, I think she wins the Mares Hurdle in March, with or without Benie.

Of the rest, Notebook is the one to beat in the Arkle after a titanic battle with Cash Back, the Irish juvenile hurdlers are not very good and Appreciate It will be hard to stop in the Champion Bumper.

Any Second Now For Ultima Glory

One of the most emotional victories of the weekend arguably came in the form of Glamorgan Duke in the big Handicap Chase on Sunday for the Gilligan's.

In 2018 Paul Gilligan was banned for 2 years from racing when it was discovered that his horse Dubawi Phantom, who won at Uttoxeter, had also raced under the name ‘Ayres Rock’ at a flapper meeting in Galway. For all intents and purposes his training career looked over, and his owners understandably moved on.

He has been quietly and steadily building up his yard again though and that win on Sunday was huge for them, you could see the emotion rolling over him and his family as Glamorgan Duke got back up. Regardless of the mistakes made, Paul Gilligan is a superb trainer who famously produced Berties Dream to win the Albert Bartlett back in 2010. A trainer to watch perhaps.

It was from that race however that I think we saw the 2020 Ultima Handicap Chase winner and that could very well be Any Second Now who stayed on brilliantly into 3rd over an inadequate trip.

Punters regularly get sucked in by unexposed types in the Ultima, but it's experienced and battle hardened animals like him that win this. 20/1 is simply too big.

The bookmakers.co.uk Cheltenham trends will tell you that 6 of the last 10 winners of this race were running off their highest ever chase handicap mark and carried more than 11 stone and 1 pound.

This is a tough race that pays to side with experienced horses and Any Second Now is exactly that. He can replicate his festival win at the 2019 festival and come home in front once again for Ted Walsh and JP McManus.

This Week's Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips

TipOddsBet with
Any Second Now to win the Ultima20/1Unibet

Previously Tipped

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