Leopardstown is one of three Irish meetings on Boxing Day and we have taken a look at three of the key races.
Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle
This reminds me of last season’s Champion trainer title as it looks like a battle between Gordon and Willie as they are responsible for the first five horses in the betting.
Gordon actually runs five horses in this, but the pick of them is undoubtedly Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime. A short is all that separated the pair in a Garde 3 at Fairyhouse earlier this month and with Coeur Sublime now four pounds worse off for the beating, Chief Justice looks to have a great chance.
It would seem with the booking of Paul Townend(Ruby at Limerick) that La Sorelita is the main hope from the Willie Mullins yard. This French import is having it’s first run for the yard so it’s hard to asses it’s chances but he was a winner in France and hails from a leading yard which alone gives him a chance.
The other Mullins inmate is Maze Runner, who won his only start over timber at Cork. He was rated 70 on the flat and looks like a nice addition to the jumping ranks but may struggle in this company.
Others to note include Coko Beach and Got Trumped.
Selection: Chief Justice
Racing Post Novice Chase
This Grade 1 contest is the highlight on the opening day of the Christmas festival at Leopardstown and six smart horses look set to face the starter. In reality, only three of them would appear to have chances of winning.
Mengli Khan will jump off favourite and justifiably so, he was a Grade 1 winning novice hurdler last year and showed his durability by dancing every dance really. He began this season and his chasing career with a victory in a decent chase at Punchestown. I wouldn’t say he was foot perfect at every fence but on the whole, he jumped well and will prove very difficult to beat here.
Voix Du Reve looks the most likely to upset the apple tart. The Willie Mullins trained six-year-old, was a very smart handicapper over hurdles and has been very impressive in two starts over the larger obstacles. Paul Townend will keep it simple and go from the front so if they give him too much rope, a surprise could be on the cards.
The final runner with obvious claims of victory is the Joseph O’Brien trained Le Richebourg, who’s only defeat over fences came in Grade 1 Drinmore behind Delta Work. Time will tell how good that race was but I wouldn’t be jumping up and down about the strength of the race and I think he’ll struggle to back it up in this contest.
The field is completed by Us And Them, Ellie Mac and Mind’s Eye.
Selection: Mengli Khan
Racing Post Handicap Chase
Tisamystery looks to hold strong claims off a repeat victory off only a four pound higher mark. He had a nice pipe-opener in Cork and there no doubt Henry De Bromhead will have had this race in mind for some time.
Tycoon Prince carries top weight and was once the apple of Gordon Elliott’s eye. Obviously, things haven’t gone to plan but back over his optimum trip, on a track he’s won on before, he may regain the winning thread.
Another Elliott trained runner that must enter calculation is Cubomania, who has won five times since August. This novice was arguably running his best race when falling two out behind Delta Work and if he continues this upward curve, he may just be a graded performer.
Others of interest include track favourite Grand Partner, Teacher’s Pet and the Ted Walsh trained Kildorrery.