Early Doors is in contention to lead Joseph O’Brien’s Dublin Racing Festival team this weekend and the Melbourne Cup-winning trainer aims for an early midweek boost from West Coast Time at Down Royal on Wednesday where there will be an 8am inspection due to an adverse weather forecast.
The former smart bumper performer carries the famous Michael Tabor colours in a novice hurdle. Testing conditions in the north shouldn't be an issue judged by his run behind the Coral Hurdle favourite Off You Go at Limerick over Christmas.
Less than an hour before West Coast Time’s race, O’Brien also has a couple of runners – Highly Approved and High Susie – in a seven furlong handicap at Chelmsford but it is 18 entries for this weekend’s Leopardstown action that will concentrate the trainer’s attention too.
They include the Royal Bond runner up Early Doors who has the Grade One options of either Saturday’s Lacy Partners Novice Hurdle or the following day’s Deloitte over two miles. Early Doors hasn’t been seen in action since chasing home Mengli Khan at Fairyhouse almost two months ago.
O’Brien’s Melbourne Cup hero, Rekindling, remained in Australia for a break after his famous success at the start of November. Reports indicate he could return to action in the Aus$1.5 million Australian Cup on March 10th.
Racing Victoria reported on Tuesday the son of High Chaparral is under the care of Liam Howley who trains for top owner Lloyd Williams. Both Rekindling and the horse he beat at Flemington, Johannes Vermeer, are among 53 nominations for the Australian Cup.
Rekindling remains as low as 8-1 in some betting lists for the Ascot Gold Cup in June.
Willie Mullins sends two runners to Down Royal. Bravissimo and Harrie can provide the champion trainer with first and last race double with the latter an interesting bumper contender considering his only run in France in late 2016 was a promising second in a Fontainebleau hurdle.
Celtic Rising ran above 25-1 odds at Limerick when chasing home Ministerforsport a month ago and can land the maiden hurdle.