Kem’s the boy for Gold Cup

Steve Hughes has picks for two of the chases on the star-studded Leopardstown Sunday card

It is to be hoped that the ground is considered safe enough by trainers at Leopardstown today as it should be an excellent spectacle if the majority of runners turn up. I am going to focus on the two chases at the end of the card. Go Whatever was placed for the each-way bet yesterday (advised 11/1).

Leopardstown 3.30: Kemboy

Probably the quickest of the 3m chasers around at the moment, Kemboy should have benefited from his seasonal debut over Christmas here and be spot on for this contest.

A clear winner of the Savills Chase here last season on good going, he got no further than the first fence at Cheltenham, before making amends with an authoritative win at Grade 1 level at Aintree where the emphasis is always more on speed. He then got the better of Cheltenham victor Al Boum Photo when winning at Punchestown.

A buzzy type he was a bit over keen here when only fourth in attempting to defend his Savills crown. However he was beaten only 3l and he should more tractable today with that run behind him. The drying ground will definitely play more to his strengths than the opposition.

Leopardstown 4.00: Blazer & Dallas Des Pictons

A ferociously competitive handicap chase to climax events over jumps at the Dublin Racing Festival and I am taking two against the field.

Blazer is perhaps best know for his exploits over hurdles, winning at this meeting back in 2016 and placing second in the 2018 Galway Hurdle. However he has plenty of experience over fences and will be better for his return to the track at Fairyhouse over 2m last time. Whilst a well beaten favourite that day, I do think he is better suited by a longer trip these days. Indeed he was a good sixth in the Paddy Power here last season over 3m. At home on good going I think he has the perfect jockey in Denis O’Regan for this type of contest.

Dallas Des Pictons was entered for a handicap at Cheltenham last weekend, though I am sure that was more for Gordon Elliott to get an idea of the sort of mark he will run off if the horse comes over for the Festival. He was given a rating equal to that of his hurdles mark after an excellent novice campaign last season. That included a win over 3m at this meeting last season and a second place in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham. However the Irish assessor has taken a very different view and allotted him a rating 13lbs lower over fences. That could be dangerously generous even if he has been well beaten in two Grade 3’s this winter. His best form has been on a sounder surface and he has been running on soft going all winter. If his jumping holds up he must be in with a shout off his current rating.

Recommended bets:

1.5pts win – Kemboy – 3.30 Leopardstown – 11/8 general

0.75pts each-way – Blazer – 4.00 Leopardstown – 16/1 general (Paddy Power 1/5 odds 1st 6)

0.75pts each-way – Dallas Des Pictons – 4.00 Leopardstown – 8/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1st 6)

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