This weekend's Dublin Racing Festival boasts two stacked cards, with eight Grade Ones and more than €1.8m in prize money up for grabs.

Former champion jockey Barry Geraghty, who will be part of RTÉ's coverage at Leopardstown, says that the meeting, first run in 2018, is more important than ever this year given the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It really highlights the quality of horses in Ireland," he told RTÉs Morning Ireland. 

"We have the best horses, we have the best trainers, we have the best jockeys and it's a brilliant meeting to showcase that.

"I think racing is getting some great attention with the public because it has been able to continue behind closed doors as well as it has."

Geraghty expects favourite Honeysuckle to live up to expectations in Saturday's feature, the Irish Champion Hurdle, as long as the going remains soft.

"Honeysuckle is unbeaten," he said. "She’s a very good mare.

"But she meets Sharjah, he has won three times at Leopardstown at Christmas, he was second in the Champion Hurdle last year and I think he’s a horse that’s still improving.

"So she’s going to have her sternest test here. It’s a quality field. Saint Roi, Abacadabras, who was only touched off at Cheltenham last year, and she’s going to have her work cut out to maintain that unbeaten record.

"I do fancy her. The softer the ground the better for her, but if it’s not as soft it’s going to play to Sharjah’s strengths."

Rachael Blackmore on Mindella Indo

Sunday's Irish Gold Cup goes off with a field of just five but there are some quality opponents for favourite Minella Indo.

"Minella Indo took a heavy fall at Christmas and he’s second favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup so he really has to live up to the mark here.

"It’s a quality race. Kemboy, who won it last year, Melon, who ran really well at Christmas, Delta Work as well. It’s a rock-solid race and it’s going to take winning.

"We’ll know where we stand with Minella Indo if he can come out on top here.

"He is potentially the real deal so he needs to go and beat these to be the real deal."

Elsewhere, Geraghty says Willie Mullins Energumene "is a horse that excites me" and expects a "great clash" between Monkfish, Latest Exhibition and Andy Dufresne in the Novice Chase.

"There’s lots of real top-quality racing."

Watch live coverage of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Saturday (1pm) and Sunday (1.30pm) and listen live on RTÉ Radio 1