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It’s the final day of Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. Another high quality card though I must admit not one to get my punting juices flowing.
I’m always a bit stuck when fancying the short ones. I don’t back odds on shots but do think both Concertista and Monkfish will win. Given what happened with Epatante earlier this week, an impressive win for Concertista could give connections a Cheltenham Festival dilemma.
The spirit of competition that has prevailed at this meeting continues. Neither Monkfish nor Concertista face penalty kicks. The Matheson Hurdle is another competitive affair.
I struggled to rule many out though so it will be another watching brief.
On to some horses I will be backing. A handicap chase kicks off the card at 12.05 pm. It’s a tricky puzzle but Paddy offering an extra couple of places has tempted me in. Midnight Maestro is interesting here.
This horse began his chasing career in England off a mark of 130. He seemed to completely lose confidence over fences, and was transferred to Enda Bolger at the start of this season. Based on his latest effort in Fairyhouse, that may have worked the oracle.
He missed a couple of fences late on but jumped well in the main. It was particularly encouraging that having made a mistake at the third last, he then popped the last two nicely. He was 50/1 that day, and wasn’t knocked about in the closing stages.
I’d imagine he’ll strip fitter here. If so, off a mark of 118, he must have a sporting chance of recouping the sponsors money.
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Gabbys Cross will be favourite in the handicap hurdle at 3 pm. We should still get around 3/1. I’d be more than happy with that. Despite being on a hat trick, this unexposed horse looks well handicapped.
He bolted up on penultimate start in Tramore. The form of that race could hardly be working out better. He only just clung on in Punchestown last time out. I’d say that’s good form too.
The second could yet be revitalised by his new yard. The third and fourth arrived at that race in good nick. Gabbys cost plenty of money after winning a point to point. He’s beginning to realise his potential, and could yet justify his price tag. He will take plenty of stopping here anyhow.
Limerick passed an inspection on Monday. Hopefully this card will survive too as the only other horse I fancy runs in the first. It’s a fairly humdrum rated novice hurdle.
Blanketontheground was well backed to win a similar race at this track last time out. That was the horses first start for a new yard. Anyone who followed the money that day will have had few concerns.
Well, the mistake at the last may have caused a few palpitations. She recovered well though, and ran out a ready winner. We’ve had mixed messages from the form since. I was impressed though.
The horse clearly handles conditions, and I’m confident she can start my day on a winning note.
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