Cal’s DRF Review & Weekend Betting Tips

Estimated read time 9 min read


We were well and truly spoilt with the quality of racing we had last weekend. The Dublin racing festival was again dominated by Willie Mullins and his firepower across the two days. Let’s start off with arguably the performance of the weekend in BALLYBURN.

In my eyes, we saw this years supreme winner in the shape of BALLYBURN as he bolted up against SLADE STEEL in the Novices Hurdle. He is just a big galloping machine with a wicked turn of foot and looks to have a massive engine and a proper chaser in the maker. SLADE STEEL is no mug, he is a proper horse with a huge future and off the back of that would be my idea of this years Ballymore, but what BALLYBURN has done to him there is a demolition job. They have both clear of 3rd and have cemented themselves as the best novice hurdlers in IRELAND.

Now of course there is discussion as to where BALLYBURN will turn up come Cheltenham, but surely if you owned him you would be pushing to send him to the Supreme. Especially as Willie doesn’t have too many horses that look to have a live chance in the supreme except MYSTICAL POWER.

He has received plenty of support for the Supreme market and that has now become his most favourable price for any race he’s entered in at Cheltenham. This is my idea of the supreme winner and looks an exciting prospect for next year too. 

GALOPIN DES CHAMPS got revenge over FASTORSLOW in the IRISH GOLD CUP and now you would have to agree he is worthy of his 11/10 price for this years CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP. He got the better of FASTORSLOW this time around and I think a large reason of that is due to the riding tactics.

Out front all the way and was never for catching. Now in my opinion, at Cheltenham I think there is a good chance you would see the 4 ½ length winning distance between GALOPIN DES CHAMPS and FASTORSLOW becoming even wider. He had absolutely loads left in the tank coming to the line and you would think, with an extra 2 furlongs to travel, GALOPIN would pull further clear of FASTORSLOW.

Nevertheless Martin Brassil’s horse ran a cracking race and is definitely the 2nd best 3 mile chaser behind GDC and will likely chase him home come march. I think we can settle the GDC/FASTORSLOW debate.

FACT TO FILE smashed GAELIC WARRIOR into submission and looks a live chance for the turners chase now. Now we all know GAELIC WARRIOR is a great horse when going the right way round but on this occasion FACT TO FILE looked to have everything and more over GAELIC WARRIOR. This lad travels like an absolute dream and is a fantastic jumper, I think for this season I would keep him over the shorter trip come March and target him for the turners but we all know what Willie is like with targets for his horses.

Next season is going to be special for FACT TO FILE, I love how well this lad has being treated. He is lightly raced and has bags of potential going forward and could seriously be a GOLD CUP contender.

He does everything right and looks the type on a real upward trajectory for Willie Mullins. 

MARINE NATIONALE give us the upset of the weekend as IL ETAIT TEMPS won the Irish Arkle in stylish fashion. Was it an off day for MARINE NATIONALE?

Time will tell but you would have to be concerned come March. The ground theory to me doesn’t add up as he has won on worser ground than that. Could it be the wind issue? Returning to action too soon? Who knows, Barry had confirmed that there were no issues post-race which could just mean it was an off day. But this throws the ARKLE up in the air and is the most open renewal we have had for a few years now. 

STATEMAN AND EL FABIOLO were flawless, and both put forward another incredible performance. There is not too much we can say about these lads as we know what they’re all about. 

We could go on forever and it’s easy to get carried away but for me, the above performances have stole the headlines over the last week and deserve the focus. But with all that being said, let’s cover the big action for this weekend.


I cannot believe that you can back SHISHKIN @ 5/6 for this. PROTEKTORAT is no where near the horse SHISHKIN is, this lad would have won the KING GEORGE on his last outing if he hadn’t of buckled on landing unseating Nico.

Providing SHISHKIN starts the race then I firmly believe that he will be coming home in first place here. He has ran around here before on heavy ground back in his novice days but came home strong beating SHAKEM UP’ARRY by 11 lengths. He brings the best form, best rating and is the best horse in this race. He wins this and goes onto the Gold Cup looking like a strong contender.


EDWARDSTONE drops back down in trip and looks to return back to winning ways here and with his form behind JONBON over this trip he sits rightly at the top of the market. I cannot have BOOTHILL here at all. I really like AMARILLO SKY 7/1 ew.

He is a proper Newbury horse and is unbeaten here over fences when standing up. He has some really solid form including beating FUGITIF conceding 9lbs. He is a winner when coming back from a lengthy absence and at only 8yrs old, there could be further improvement to come from this lad.

Joe Tizzard’s charge looks overpriced here but if EDWARDSTONE is on song then he is the most likely winner so I will advise a single on AMARILLO SKY 7/1 ew & EDWARDSTONE 1ST AMARILLO SKY 2ND 12/1 FC.


The trappiest race of the weekend. We have this Mullins gamble in OCASTLE DES MOTTES that has received constant support over the last few days and has being smashed into favouritism. If you wanted, you could genuinely make a case for all of these here but I have come down on two. I did really like the chances of UNDER CONTROL with her form behind ASHROE DIAMOND looking solid but off top weight in this I think she would struggle.

I have landed on BRENTFORD HOPE 14/1 ew for Harry Derham. I think his latest outing behind HANSARD is rock solid form as HANSARD would be a very short price for this. He is ground versatile and used to be a slop lover when trained by Richard Hughes. He is a course and distance winner and was a top quality horse on the flat. 134 looks a nice mark for BRENTFORD HOPE and I think he has plenty more improvement to come off that mark.

ONLYAMATTEROFTIME 16/1 ew is my second fancy here. I think this lad has looked shaped to win a big handicap for some time now and has a solid chance here. He has been backed in from 25/1 so someone is backing him. He has gone off favourite for the Greatwood and the Betfair Trophy. He is off a mark here of 115 which is ridiculous, had he have not ran out in the Greatwood I think he would have had a huge chance of winning that.

Willie will have him right here and I love the fact Bryan Hayes is booked to ride. 16/1 seems a huge price to me.


Yeah, I am adding BALLYBURN 7/4 to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle. What we saw this lad do on Sunday was just breathtaking. As we know, stayers win the supreme and this lad looks a staying chaser in the making. His time figures had him ahead of STATEMAN… this is how good this lad is.

Now I am not saying he is better than STATEMAN but to be putting up timings of that calibre to compare to Irelands best 2m hurdler should be respected. I think Willie has to send him here. He has enough ammunition to win the Ballymore without adding BALLYBURN into the equation there, with the likes of MYSTICAL POWER, ILE ATLANTIQUE, READIN TOMMY WRONG all at the top of the betting, each with a live chance of winning. I think there is a strong chance we see MYSTICAL POWER head to the Ballymore as JP already has JERIKO DU REPONET which looks nailed on to run in the supreme which of course lights the path for BALLYBURN to run in the supreme.

If you look at his racing style, he reminds me of APPRECIATE IT and KLASSICAL DREAM, both previous winners of the supreme in devastating fashion. Looking through the field of what could potentially run here, I cannot see anything getting near him and he will likely improve more for his last race too. I think we have a special horse here for years to come, he is clear of any RPR put up by the field with an RPR of 158 from his DRF success. This is a serious horse and is going to take the world of beating here. If he was declared to run here, I think he would be more of a 4/5 shot.

I am sat on slips at 8s and a couple at 11/2 but that was when he ran his race over the 2m 4f. He wins where ever he goes but I think Willie will send him here. It makes the most sense for the yard as a whole. 7/4 looks like value in my eyes.

That just about wraps up this week’s blog ladies and gents, I hope we see SHISHKIN return with a bang this weekend. I would love to see him and GALOPIN DES CHAMPS coming down to the last together in the Gold Cup, but they’re things that we can only dream of. 

Best of luck,


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