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Leopardstown horse racing preview and tips: Three top tips from Thursday evening's meeting


Our racing expert Jake Russell shares his best three bets from Thursday evening's racing action at Leopardstown

By @ Jake Russell

4.55pm - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden

This contest looks likely to one of two ways: either the Aidan O'Brien filly in Giselle will just be far too good for the rest of these, or she will come second to a more ready type, which is what we are seeing quite a bit of this season so far- ie well- fancied Ballydoyle horses going on to come a decent enough 2nd, then go on and win easily next time out. 

Therefore I will be siding with the in-form Ger Lyons (currently operating at a 29% win strike rate for the last 14 days) Transcending who is expected to come on for the run last time. She was fairly well beaten in the end at Naas on debut in a 15-runner maiden, when sent off 25/1 in the market, so not exactly fancied, although she still ran well enough to learn plenty from that experience. 

She made some nice headway two furlongs from home after being kept in the middle of the park throughout, and probably just lacked that real burst of speed that the ones in front of her had that day, so this step up in trip will more than suit this daughter of King Of Change. 

She has the run under her belt, so the thinking is she will come on for the run and might just strip fitter than the Aidan O'Brien pair who currently head the market. 

5.30pm - Listed King George V Cup

This is actually a really nice contest on paper, and I am all over Portland for the powerhouse combination of Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore, who could easily kickstart the card with a winner with their odds-on favourite two-year-old. 

Keeper's Heart will no doubt be well fancied for this as he is a very lightly-raced sort who could improve even more now with the run and step up in trip, but that said, I just think Portland is the better horse. 

Six runs last season as a two-year-old, he was pretty well tried in his first season racing, so we know from that he will be very battle-hardened now as a three-year-old stepping up in trip. 

He did win once last term as well as coming 3rd in the Group 2 at the Curragh and coming 3rd once again in the Group 1 at Saint-Cloud over 1m2f. 

Two runs this season so far have produced a 2nd on re-appearance over the mile trip, and he certainly showed there that the step up in trip will more than suit this horse, before going on to come a very decent 4th in the Classic Trial at Sandown, only beaten by 4 lengths in the end by the eventual winner Arabian Crown.

Again, he kept on very well in the end, so that clearly shows a step up once again to 1m4f is more than needed for this son of Dubawi, as he is very much bred to stay the 1m4f trip, so this would be the perfect start to his middle distance career. 

In his two runs this season so far, he has shown glimpses of some talent in there, and although he has only won once in eight attempts so far in his career, the fact that O'Brien is still persisting with him would suggest he feels the step up to this trip will bring more out of him. 

I fully believe he is the best horse in the race, and although there are some unexposed types lining up this evening, he could just ultimately be in a better position to land a race of this nature.

  • Selection - Portland (9/4 Win)     

6.30pm - Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Glencairn Stakes

Fitness could come to the fore for the main runners at the head of the market, and although Cairo had the run in Meydan a few months back, Tarawa had the run just 18 days ago in a Listed contest. 

Cairo is a talented sort and he is having his first run for Alice Haynes and new owners, and it is very interesting that she sends him over to Ireland for his first run. However, he has to give Dermot Weld filly 5l's in the weights, which would mean he is just 1lb higher than her in the ratings, and I feel the 110 rating for him is a little high. 

With that in mind, Tarawa is a talented sort in her own right, and although she has not won since her second-ever start at Leopardstown back in October 2022, she has since placed on three occasions in various Listed contests. 

There might be a little bit of a risk attached to selecting her, as she hasn't won for a good while now, but the main factor that is attracting me to her is the fact that cheekpieces go back on for the first time in a few runs, plus this slight step up in trip by a furlong or so will more than suit this filly. 

With a run under her belt for this season (and looking like she really needed the run last time) she could easily go on and progress this season, and this would be the perfect stepping stone for her before potentially progressing as the season goes on. 

  • Selection - Tarawa (15/8 Win) 

All prices are from Planet Sport Bet and are subject to change

 All previews and tips provided by @ Jake Russell

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