TICKING off the days until Cheltenham gets a bit tedious.
However, Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival, with no less than eight Group Ones, does more than fill the gap.
Tomorrow’s Irish Champion Hurdle (3.10pm) is maybe the most intriguing of those, with mare HONEYSUCKLE set to have her credentials put to the test by the boys.
Sharjah, winner of the Grade One Matheson Hurdle, and Klassical Dream, who landed awkwardly early on in that race and never recovered, look the main dangers.
Both are trained by Willie Mullins who is in red-hot form, but Honeysuckle looks something special, while she’s also in receipt of 7lbs from her rivals.
She’s 6/4 and this is likely to be the first time she goes off odds against this season.
After that, her 7/1 about winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham looks sure to contract, so that’s worth snapping up too.
On home soil, Call Me Lord in the Contenders Hurdle will be many racegoers’ idea of a banker at Sandown, but the 8/13 isn’t tempting.
From a betting point of view, the Heroes Handicap Hurdle (3.00pm) is far more interesting.
ASK BEN jointly heads the market with Golan Fortune at 7/1 and, with four places on offer, the former looks a great each-way bet.
Three miles on soft ground will take some getting at Sandown and Graeme McPherson’s seven-year-old is a proper stayer who handles plenty of give in the ground.
Further down the list at 20/1 is Agrapart. He’s been out of sorts this season but will be right in the mix if recapturing some of his older form, the best of which has come in stamina tests on soft ground.
Ask Ben e/w 3.00pm Sandown
Honeysuckle 3.10pm Leopardstown
Honeysuckle 7/1 e/w Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)