Johnny Ward's top tips for day two of the Dublin Winter Festival

By Johnny Ward
Sun 4 Feb 2018

By Johnny Ward in Dublin

The markets at Leopardstown on Saturday were remarkably volatile, more akin to a series of low-grade handicaps than top-notch action.

Yorkhill, Carter Mckay, Melon and Rapid Escape were all extremely weak in the on-track wagering - notably so on the exchanges - and all were turned over, three especially well-beaten.

Off You Go was nothing like the well-punted favourite folk expected him to be in the handicap hurdle – all the more in hindsight as he won.

Eight races on Sunday are all captivating in their own right.

Much of the chat pre-race has suggested Farclas will be strongly fancied to beat Espoir D’allen in their juvenile clash, while there must be some prospect of Samcro touching odds against in the Deloitte after his stable went without a winner on Saturday.

Below are my three fancies on the card:

12.40 Leopardstown: Half The Odds at 22-1

Half The Odds won a big-field bumper on nice ground at Fairyhouse over two and a half miles and later a Galway maiden hurdle for Noel Meade. She should also pick up handicaps.

She was favourite at Navan when disappointing recently on the back of two pleasing efforts in Graded company but the ground was practically unraceable and this should be much more up her street. She appeals at tasty odds against her own sex.

3.00 Leopardstown: Monalee at a general 7-2

Monalee, pictured below, is a much bigger price for Sunday than he was in December and there is a chance people are overreacting to his fall on his latest start.

I believe he will be better off on his own out in front and if he gets that here he can resume winning ways.


Henry De Bromhead almost went through last month without a winner but there is nothing wrong with the yard’s form. He registered two excellent seconds on Saturday.

Monalee’s stride going into that fence which claimed him at Christmas was all askew. Generally he is a spectacularly good jumper and he was trading about 5-1 for the RSA Chase before that tumble. He is not much shorter here.

4.10 Leopardstown: Sutton Manor at a general 12-1

Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown have two Gold Well-breds worth noting here – General Principle could certainly run well back in distance – but Sutton Manor looks the pick.

2017 Cheltenham Festival - Champion Day - Cheltenham Racecourse

Like recent Thyestes winner Monbeg Notorious, he is a novice with the potential to progress up the ranks and as ever in these lucrative handicaps not many have anything in hand.

Sutton Manor makes his handicap chase debut, rated similar over hurdles when capable of running big races over three miles. Dropping back in trip and negotiating fences, I am quite bullish as I can see him bettering his hurdling achievements.

Polidam, who might not have stayed the distance here at Christmas, is certainly not ruled out.

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