Johnny Ward's best bets for day one of Longines Irish Champions Weekend

By Johnny Ward
Fri 11 Sep 2020

Our man in Dublin has six fancies for the racing action at Leopardstown on Saturday - watch how his selections fare live on Racing TV.

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Longines Irish Champions Weekend, without the fanfare of a paying crowd, will feel rather bizarre for those who visit Leopardstown and the Curragh. The decision to do a U-turn on racegoers at Doncaster this week was depressing, though it is expected that some owners will be able to go racing in Ireland in the near future.

We have a superb two days of racing, with Saturday's offering looking better for punters, and this is certainly something we agreed upon on On The Wire's second show this weekend! Be lucky.

Tune in to the latest On The Wire podcast for top tips on day one of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend plus much more

2.35 Leopardstown: Kasperenko at a general 33-1

A very interesting horse for Ken Condon. He won four races in Britain, showing tactical versatility, including in a Listed race on the all-weather in 2018.

Winless since, and that is not a concern, though one might argue his latest offering at the Curragh is.

Forgive him that effort and his two other runs this season were very encouraging, including at this track, and he has a visor on now, so is worth supporting at huge odds.

3.10 Leopardstown: Albigna each-way at 13-2

This one is very much my type of bet. Albigna clearly needed the run last time and prior to that she was sent off the 6-5 favourite in the Irish 1,000 Guineas in which Peaceful (3-1) beat Fancy Blue (12-1).

Peaceful was beaten by Fancy Blue, who almost certainly wants further than this, since.

Albigna is massive each-way value with conditions in her favour and this will have been her plan for some time.

3.40 Leopardstown: Fernando Vichi at 13-2 with Coral

Considered a potential Derby horse by Joseph O'Brien, I believe he should be a good deal shorter here, having shown a burst of pace to win last time and is reportedly a lazy sort at home who saves his best for the track.

I love how much speed he finds for a squeeze and if he can get a good pace to sit off here, he can win and enhance his Derby prospects which he is a best-priced 66-1 for.

4.45 Leopardstown: Sinawann at a general 20-1

Notably second to Mogul at this festival last year, he won on his only visit to Leopardstown since, and did very little wrong behind Armory last time at the Curragh. He has the ability to go close at a big price, albeit in a hot race.

5.15 Leopardstown: Up Helly Aa at 16-1 with Coral and Bet Victor

By Galileo out of Matron winner Fiesolana, he was touched off by So Wonderful when making a lovely return over a mile at Killarney, but everything suggests this will be his trip and he ran a blinder behind Mohawk here on only his third start. He is hugely appealing at the prices.

5.50 Leopardstown: Bopedro at a general 12-1

This horse was nicely backed at Punchestown recently before being scratched. He went close in this race last year for Jim Bolger off a rating of 93 before scoring at the Curragh in a strong handicap.

Jessica Harrington has a 12 per cent strike-rate in Ireland over the past five seasons, whereas Bolger has an 11 per cent, which is little difference, but she may yet get a little more out of this four-year-old.

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