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The Mandarin’s Leopardstown Racecard for Sunday 4th February 2024

The Mandarin’s Leopardstown Racecard for Sunday 4th February 2024

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 12.40
Risk Belle
Willie Mullins can get things off to a good start with Risk Belle in Sunday’s opener. This French bred mare won a Grade 3 hurdle at Fairyhouse on her first start of the season back in December, and although she couldn’t stay with the smart Jetara next time out in the same grade, this looks a tad easier. Lining up on a workable mark, Mark Walsh has every chnce of scoring here

Ladbrokes Novice Chase (Grade 1) 1.10
Fact To File
A fascinating race where Champion Trainer Willie Mullins has to have a huge chance of taking this Grade 1. There’s sure to be plenty of support for Gaelic Warrior, who has taken to fencing like a duck to water, and he’s probably been aimed at this race to avoid Marine Nationale in the Irish Arkle. That said, this might not be the easy option as stablemates Fact To File and Grangeclare West are both smart novice chasers in their own right. With Found A Fifty unlikely to line up after Saturday’s engagement, Gordon Elliott has American Mike flying the flag for his Cullentra yard. Gaelic Warrior does have a tendency to jump to the right, so Fact To File gets the nod ahead of him and Grangeclare West. Fact To File notably went from second in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival straight to a novice chasing campaign, and that says enough about the regard he is held in at Closutton. A terrific duel with Willie Mullins to clean up when Fact To File takes this

Tattersalls Ireland 50th Derby Sale Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 1.40
Ballyburn (nap)
Another showdown between Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, with Henry de Bromhead also staking a claim with Slade Steel. The Closutton yard of Willie Mullins has the clear ante-post favourite, Ballyburn, who looks something out of the top drawer with four wins from just the five career starts. He was especially impressive here in a maiden hurdle at the Christmas Festival, leaving a strung-out field a distance back, but should get more of a race from Gordon Elliott’s Farren Glory,the winner of the Grade 1 Royal Bond. Slade Steel lines up here on a hat-trick after a Grade 2 win at Navan, and has since been laid out for this race. Ballyburn to continue to progress, and lead Farren Glory and Slade Steel home

Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) 2.10
El Fabiolo
It’s very hard to get away from the appeal of El Fabiolo for this top-class Grade One. The winner of the Arkle at March’s Cheltenham Festival, serving it up to the smart Jonbon, Willie Mullins’s star remains unbeaten after 5 races over fences, and there’s probably more to come. The abandoned trip to Ascot to contest the Clarence House Chase in a long awaited match-up with Jonbon gives even more of a boost to El Fabiolo’s chances here, with stablemate Dinoblue the obvious danger. Dinoblue gets a handy mares allowance, but El Fabiolo is a justified odds-on favourite and should be winning this

Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2.45
State Man
The Willie Mullins steamtrain powers on through Sunday’s card, with State Man at very skinny odds to land the Irish Champion Hurdle. Barring any mishaps, it’s hard to see any other result than a tenth win over timber in Joe Donnelly’s silks, with no Constitution Hill to take on, though a revitalised Bob Olinger is clearly much happier reverting to hurdling and stablemate Impaire Et Passe is a smart one too. State Man to keep the winning streak going on Willie Mullins’s day

O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3.20
Classic Getaway
A really hot handicap to follow those Grade One’s, but Willie Mullins can keep the good run going. The Champion Trainer has chances aplenty, with Meetingofthewaters, Adamantly Chosen and Classic Getaway all holding solid claims. The preference is for Classic Getaway, who only went down by a length at Tramore on New Year’s Day, where the ground was just too deep. Returned to a better surface here, and although giving weight away to all but one of this field, should have the class to win, and makes plenty of each-way appeal

Timeless Sash Windows Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 3.50
An Tobar
The chance is taken on Henry de Bromhead’s An Tobar now dropped into handicap company. There’s certainly less on his plate here than when sent off in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle, where Willie Mullins scored a one-two-three. His third in the Royal Bond showed his quality, so this seems a canny move into handicaps. Unexposed and back in trip, An Tobar is given the nudge with the excellent Racheal Blackmore adding to the appeal

Coolmore N.H. Sires ‘Hurricane Lane’ Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) 4.25
Aurora Vega (nb)
Bred in the purple, this Walk In The Park mare out of the brilliant Quevega looks to maintain her unbeaten record in the closer. She was 3 lengths up on the re-opposing Sharp Object at Gowran Park, though this time the main threat is from Stuart Crawford’s Mongibello, who looked a prospect when bolting up by 13 lengths at Down Royal on St Stephen’s Day.

The Mandarin

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