THE Dublin Racing Festival is supposed to sort out the Irish pecking order for Cheltenham next month.
But with more bubbles burst than at the average West Ham game, some of the championship races have been blown open.
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The biggest shock was Marine Nationale who went out like a light in the Irish Arkle.
Now we know why he has needed a tongue tie on his two chase runs.
Jockey Michael O’Sullivan chose to hold him up and he did look to be going well enough until he was asked for his effort and the turbo just didn’t kick in.
A wind op may help, as will going from the front again like on his impressive debut, but the past 14 Cheltenham Arkle heroes all won on their previous run so he has a bigger mountain than Prestbury Park’s hill to climb.
Yet, after Gaelic Warrior’s mishap, Marine Nationale is still favourite to win at the Festival.
It will take a leap of faith to support him at 5-2 though.
Sir Gino had a big boost for the Triumph Hurdle without leaving his box as Storm Heart was beaten in the Spring Juvenile.
Nicky Henderson’s rising star is as short as 4-6 now.
Galopin Des Champs cemented his place at the head of the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting as even-money favourite with Hills and Paddy Power despite being more workmanlike than sensational in seeing off Fastorslow who I’m not convinced will get the Gold Cup trip.
The 10-1 about Shishkin is looking even more appealing for each-way thieves now.
One horse from Leopardstown that I did note for Cheltenham was King Of Kingsfield who ran a mighty race when third in the Grade 1 won by Ballyburn.
Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old was no match for him but he finished off his race really strongly and looks ideal for one of the handicaps.
The question is which one!
He is trading at 20-1 with Betfair for the Martin Pipe and County Hurdle.
They are still betting to ante-post terms so if he doesn’t run you’re on a loser.
Or you can take Sky Bet’s 12-1 for each race and they are non-runner, money back which works out slightly better if you’re spreading your stake at this stage.
Alternatively, keep him in your notebook and see which race big Gordon sends him to when the time comes.
BACK KING OF KINGSFIELD for the Martin Pipe and County Hurdle
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