PAT HEALY: This week Pat is gearing up for the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown which features Honeysuckle’s return to action.

Dublin Racing Festival

I’m really looking froward to the two-day festival at Leopardstown this weekend and I’m very relieved that the ground issue seems to have been sorted. Gordon Elliot walked the track this week and he seemed to be delighted with it, which is great news. For such an important meeting you want the main players to be happy and it’s a relief that they seemingly are. There’s reportedly a big contingent of people coming over from England for it, and Dublin is going to be a great social venue on Saturday evening after the racing. Hopefully everyone will have a great time and enjoy the top-class racing.

I saw a statistic this week that since the inception of the Dublin Racing Festival, Willie [Mullins], Gordon [Elliott] and Henry [de Bromhead], have won 75% of the races. That is just an amazing number. The DRF has cemented itself as the best steppingstone for the Cheltenham Festival, it’s in the right place just six weeks out, and you will find that horses that have won at Leopardstown can go and follow it up at Cheltenham. You’ll also find that Willie cranks it up a gear or two from this weekend and it’ll be fascinating to see his runners, along with Gordon’s, because they will all step up again in March.

Everyone loves Honeysuckle and her return will be another weekend highlight as she goes for her 14th straight success. She should win again and hopefully come back in one piece, then we can look forward to the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham!

Gowran Park

It was a memorable day at Gowran Park last week for their Thyestes Chase day. It was a gorgeous day weather wise and there was a huge 8,500 strong crowd all on great form and the atmosphere was fantastic, all round it was a pleasure to be there. Everything’s back to normal now and we’re just looking forward to more of the same.

Point to Points

Point to points are now back up and running with the insurance problem being sorted out, the four-year-olds had their first outing last weekend and its always interesting to see which stallions are making an impact and where these youngsters go next. I was at Tyrella P2P in County Down last week and it’s always a fantastic day out and probably the most scenic track in the country. Looking across the bay you can see the town of Newcastle and on a nice day there really is no better venue.