Tony Keenan advised Isleofhopendreams to win at 6.611/2 last Sunday and has his best bets for Leopardstown's Irish Gold Cup card today...
"Bapaume has beaten Mega Fortune on the two occasions they have met but by narrowing margins and the Elliott runner has two big positives in his favour here; this is the first time he gets the soft ground he relished on the flat and the cheekpieces are applied too."
First it was Vautour. Then came Annie Power, followed by Faugheen and Min on the same day. Yesterday, Champion Bumper favourite Getabird was ruled out. The punters who have won on short-priced Mullins horses at Cheltenhams past are having a tough time this season and it could be the year that the layers get back the fortunes they claim to have lost in 2015 and 2016 when the trainer had 15 winners combined across the meetings. Bizarrely however, Mullins trains the first or second choice in the ante-post markets in 14 of the 28 Festival racing this morning which doesn't make a lot of sense; surely no trainer can sustain the losses he has and keep on rolling?
Leopardstown 13:30 - Oppose Kiely favourite on soft ground
Toe The Line looks a favourite to oppose here; she was impressive last time, visually and on sectional times, but that win came on good while the ground will now be much softer. She handles soft on the flat but this should be testing with Dublin having been hit by rain for much of yesterday and that could blunt her speed.
Plenty of these find it hard to win but two that comment doesn't apply to are Mill Quest and Head Turner. The former has been in good form since the summer and ran into a well-handicapped rival last time in Definite Ruby; if anything the drop back in trip should be in her favour as she travels well and her ability to go forward is a plus in a race where there is little pace.
Head Turner disappointed in a much better race than this last time but there were numerous excuses; the ground was too quick, she was held up off a slow pace and she jumped poorly. This grade should be more to her liking and when you strip out her ordinary flat runs she has been very good in the last 12 months, winning four handicap hurdles.
Leopardstown 14:00 - Lagos the solid option in a poor race
For the day that's in it and some of the good horses that have won it in the past, this is a pretty poor handicap hurdle and Lagostovegas looks the solid option in a race where few can claim to be such. Consistency has been an issue for but her last two runs have been excellent and she was just caught by a horse on top of his game last time in Charlie Stout. She might well have won that day with better hurdling and should be favourite for this. It's worth remembering too that she mixed it with some of last season's strong crop of juvenile hurdlers.
Leopardstown 14:30 - Fortune overpriced compared to Bapaume
Ruby Walsh's decision to ride Bapaume will have surprised those who framed the midweek market for the Spring Juvenile; they had impressive Christmas maiden winner Meri Devie in as favourite but it is negative for her that the stable jockey looks elsewhere. Bapaume has to be respected and there should be more to come from him after just four starts but Mega Fortune is the value at current odds.
Bapaume has beaten Mega Fortune on the two occasions they have met but by narrowing margins and the Elliott runner has two big positives in his favour here; this is the first time he gets the soft ground he relished on the flat and the cheekpieces are applied too. Certainly, he should not be more than twice the price of Bapaume.
1 Point Back Mill Quest @ 5.85/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 13:30
0.5 Point Head Turner @ 14.013/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 13:30
1 Point Back Lagostovegas @ 7.613/2 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:00
1 Point Back Mega Fortune @ 8.27/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:30
1 Point Place Back Mega Fortune @ 2.35/4 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:30
National Hunt Season P+L: +10.3 points