El Fabiolo spearheads strong ‘double green’ DRF squad

Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite El Fabiolo will captain Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Dublin Racing Festival team as the unbeaten chaser heads to Leopardstown a red-hot favourite for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.

Originally set to contest Ascot’s abandoned Clarence House Chase, Willie Mullins’ ace two-miler will seek riches closer to home as he looks to supplement his victory in the Irish Arkle at the two-day meeting 12 months ago.

El Fabiolo went on to add to his Grade One tally at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals and following a successful comeback run in Cork’s Hilly Way Chase, the odds-on shot will be seeking to solidify his spot at the top of the market for the Champion Chase in just under six weeks’ time.

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“The team will probably have about nine runners, but he’s the only one who will be a hot favourite for us and is our best chance,” said Munir and Souede’s racing manager Anthony Bromley.

“He’s training well and was in great form leading up to the Clarence House two weeks ago – and the team are all happy with him still, so let’s hope we cannot fluff our lines.”

Sunday will also see Impaire Et Passe, another of the owners’ 2023 Cheltenham Festival heroes, lock horns with State Man for a second time in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle, attempting to overturn a three-and-a-quarter-length beating from when they met in the Matheson Hurdle at Christmas.

A strong second-day squad will see Closutton’s James Du Berlais drop back in trip for the valuable O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey Leopardstown Handicap Chase.

Meanwhile, the day ends with Stuart Crawford bidding to provide Munir and Souede with a third-straight victory in the concluding Coolmore N.H. Sires Hurricane Lane Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race with wide-margin Down Royal scorer Mongibello.

“James Du Berlais ran really well at Christmas in the three-mile handicap chase,” continued Bromley.

“We’re dropping back to two-miles-five on Sunday in the €150,000 race. We’re hoping dropping a couple of furlongs works the oracle, as he showed up well for a very long way and went very well at Christmas and I would be hopeful of a bold show, but it’s a hugely competitive handicap chase.”

He went on: “Mongibello was second on her debut in a Listed bumper and then won very well at Down Royal in a race that is starting to work out.

“There will be plenty more fancied than us in the race, but I think she will run a really solid race and we’ve had a bit of luck in the race with the colours in the past.

“Two years ago, the Crawfords won it with Lily Du Berlais and last year the Mullins father-and-son team won it for us with Fun Fun Fun. It may be asking a bit to make it a hat-trick in the race but Mongibello certainly won’t let us down.”

Hopes for the opening day rest on Intellotto in a red-hot renewal of the Grade One McCann FitzGerald Spring Juvenile Hurdle and Ayiko in the concluding Donohue Marquees Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race, with the Dublin Racing Festival arriving at the ideal time for the in-form ‘double green’ team.

They have enjoyed plenty of success over the last seven days, with a double at Naas last Sunday followed by talented novices Anotherway and Mistergif impressing in midweek.

Some of those victors could be set for a step up to better things next time, with Naas bumper winner Jasmin De Vaux set to be pointed towards the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival following his commanding 15-length romp.



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“Jasmin De Vaux was a Crawford graduate and we purchased him from Stuart and sent him to Willie and he looked very good in the bumper on Sunday,” said Bromley.

“I imagine all roads lead to Cheltenham for him. You could probably pick holes in the form of the bumper but it was the manner in which he did it which was impressive and he’s a really exciting horse to look forward to.”

A day later, it was Anotherway who was representing the team with distinction as he sauntered his way to success at Punchestown, a win that meant an awful lot to connections.

Anotherway and Paul Townend after winning at Punchestown
Anotherway and Paul Townend after winning at Punchestown (Gary Carson/PA)

Bromley explained: “Anotherway was extremely pleasing because he had severe complications after being gelded as a three-year-old and had to have two big operations, life-saving operations, and to even get him on the track at Christmas was brilliant.

“He blew up a bit then, but he certainly showed the benefit of that at Punchestown and that gave me as much pleasure as anything.

“He is Concertista’s half-brother as well, so that is quite nice and it was a very poignant winner. I don’t think he will necessarily go to Cheltenham but he will be racing at some sort of festival in the spring I suspect.”

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