1.10 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 2m1f 150yds

This €100,000 contest often features a host of well-handicapped mares and the 2023 renewal could well prove the same. Listed-winning novice hurdler Liberty Dance was narrowly denied when lining up in the Grade 2 Coolmore National Hunt Sires Mares’ Bumper at last year’s Dublin Racing Festival and has the potential to prove better than her mark of 129. Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell will bid to make it three wins in the space of four runnings of this race with the Tim O’Driscoll-owned six-year-old.

This event is one of the few contests at the Dublin Racing Festival that Willie Mullins has yet to win, and the champion trainer would surely love to strike here given the race title commemorates his late father Paddy. Historique Reconce, a half-sister to the stable’s top-notch chaser Chacun Pour Soi, won a low-key mares’ maiden hurdle at Tramore when returning from a 415-day layoff in August and has the scope to improve past her rating of 116 under Paul Townend. It will also be fascinating to see how stablemate Risk Belle - the only four-year-old in the line-up - fares against older rivals while receiving a 12lb age allowance.


Next best: Liberty Dance

2.40 Bulmers Handicap Chase (Grade A) 2m5f

Gavin Cromwell’s string could hardly be in better form and he saddles a trio of lively outsiders in this valuable contest. Given a low weight is often favoured in this race, with nine of the last 11 winners carrying 10st 8lb or less, the Co Meath stable’s Malina Girl is worth considering for each-way purposes, shouldering just 10st 6lb towards the foot of the weights. This type of assignment should be much more to her liking than having to take on Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase favourite Allegorie De Vassy in small-field Grade 2 novice chases, and Saturday’s distance is likely her optimum.

The same stable’s Ilikedwayurthinkin and Vanillier aren’t without chances either if delivering blemish-free rounds of jumping, while Maskada holds obvious claims for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore after getting the better of subsequent big-handicap chase winner Rebel Gold in the Grade B Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase at Christmas. Top Ville Ben, now 11, isn’t the force of old but could be dangerous off an Irish mark of 135 if getting into a rhythm on the front end for Yorkshire-based trainer Phil Kirby.


Next best: Maskada

4.10 Liffey Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 2m

All eyes will be on Willie Mullins-trained topweight Gaelic Warrior as he attempts to score despite carrying more weight than any winner of this race in the modern era. A 9lb rise for scoring easily at odds of 1/14 at Clonmel last month has not helped his cause, but he has the potential to be a Grade 1 horse running in a handicap.

Man O Work commands respect for trainer Paul Fahey but Charles Byrnes rattled off a hat-trick in this race between 2018 and 2020, and he could be set to strike again with the attractively-weighted All Those Years. He carries just 10st 1lb when factoring in Philip Byrnes’ 5lb claim. The J.P. McManus-owned nine-year-old apparently hasn’t been the easiest to train - with just five runs in the space of nearly 40 months - but he didn’t run badly on his return from a break at Cork last month and can be expected to sharpen up plenty for that effort. His owner has plundered five of the last nine runnings of this €150,000 contest.


Next best: Gaelic Warrior

4.40 Coolmore N.H. Sires “Santiago” Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m

Jockey bookings suggest Fun Fun Fun is the pick of Willie Mullins’ pair in the concluding contest of the weekend. Patrick Mullins has kept the faith with the five-year-old he bred, owned and rode to victory in much calmer waters at Sligo in October before she was sold to Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. However, this race has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for the record-breaking amateur rider as he has finished behind another of his father’s runners in each edition since the Dublin Racing Festival’s inception in 2018.

Jody Townend, who won the race on 18/1 shot Grangee in 2021, should give Fun Fun Fun plenty to think about on point-to-point and bumper winner Fancy Girl but a chance is taken on the Jessica Harrington-trained Marie Philippe, who created an excellent impression when winning a Fairyhouse bumper on debut in December. She looks bound to improve.


Next best: Fancy Girl