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Sam Martin Sunday Tips 7/2/21

Updated: Feb 12

This weekend looks incredible. There is top class racing in England, Ireland and Scotland with the Dublin Racing Festival as the highlight. That is where my focus lies - I have taken a look at four races for this week’s Sunday Tips Blog and hopefully I can select a few winners!

1:10 Leopardstown

This looks an ultra-competitive race and I’m keen on Lady Breffni. Willie Mullin’s mare was only beaten thirteen lengths by subsequent grade one winner Flooring Porter in early December over three miles. Next time out, she won at odds of 1/8 in a maiden hurdle on her fifth try over obstacles, dropped back to two miles four. This race is over two miles two and, as a horse who has performed so well over longer trips, this race may appear on the short side for her. However, I’m not concerned because she won a bumper over two miles for her old yard. On jockey bookings, she appears the second string within Mullins’ six entries. Danny Mullins rides this daughter of Yeats with Paul Townsend partnering Dysart Diamond, who has won three of her last four starts but the ground would be a concern for her.

Selection – Lady Breffni (8/1)

3:10 Leopardstown

I can’t not tip Monkfish here. Obviously, he is a very short price – maybe even too short. His beginner’s chase victory was emphatic and he was clearly the best horse in a grade one over Christmas. He jumps and travels so superbly and is very gutsy in tight finishes, like he showed at Cheltenham. The ground will not be a problem and I am so excited to see him run as I think he is truly special. There are some smart rivals taking part, though. Latest Exhibition, now wearing a tongue strap, has found himself behind Monkfish on two occasions now and I can’t see him getting past him this time. Andy Dufresne is stepping up to two miles five and a half furlongs after two very good novice chase victories. He was beaten by Latest Exhibition earlier on in his career. Asterion Forlonge is a conundrum. He has an awful lot of ability but hit the deck at Limerick and Punchestown. You just can’t trust him to put in a clear round and they’ve chosen to put on a tongue strap. Patrick Mullins gets the leg up for the first time since they won a bumper together in December 2019.

Selection – Monkfish (4/7)

3:40 Leopardstown

This is a mouth-watering five-runner affair and you can’t discount any of them. The Savills Chase offers a form line into the race: Minella Indo fell at the eighth; Delta Work unseated at the ninth and Melon and Kemboy shared the lead for the majority of the way home. Minella Indo was very well-fancied that day and it was an uncharacteristic fall. He is a very consistent horse but my selection is going to be Melon. It was gutting that he made an error at the second last which stopped his momentum and it was the difference between winning and losing. Kemboy finished one and a half lengths ahead of Melon, running well as he always does. Both horses are getting new jockeys with Paul Townsend taking over the reins on Melon and Danny Mullins riding Kemboy for the first time. I have a feeling this could be the day that Melon finally wins a grade one. Delta Work looks to have the weakest chance, in my opinion, after being beaten by The Storyteller in October and unseating last time. On the market, The Storyteller is the outsider but looks the value in the race. Since his Down Royal success, he has raced just once when second in a hurdle race. I’m not sure how much they will actually want him to win this as he is in the Grand National and they will want to protect his handicap mark which is already 162.

Selection – Melon (10/3)

4:40 Leopardstown

This looks a very competitive bumper. A field of eleven go to post and I think the stallion Jet Away could be responsible for the winner. Hollymount and Brandy Love are two of four individual winners for Jet Away and have very good chances in this. Brandy Love won by seven lengths at Fairyhouse in December and she’s a half-sister to Topofthecotswolds. The form of her win isn’t especially strong but she was professional. Hollymount was bought for an eye-watering £300,000 a few weeks ago by the Morans after an impressive win at Carlisle. She’s well-bred being a half-sister to Ravenhill Road, Malone Road and Windsor Avenue. However, she is carrying the second colours with the green cap and Party Central has the red one. This mare won a bumper at Tipperary by four lengths and then quickly made the switch to Gordon Elliot’s yard. She was second in a listed bumper last time out and she’s a half-sister to impressive Ascot winner Craigneiche.

Selection – Brandy Love (11/8)

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