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The ante post markets for Leopardstown with four days of top-class action immediately after Christmas have been busy enough and FELIX DESJY has been one of the best backed horses in St Stephen’s Day’s Racing Post Novice Chase (14:15) contracting into further into favourite from a one-time 9/4 shot.
It’s easy to see why Gordon Elliott’s charge has come in for such support as he’s two-from-two over the bigger obstacles, winning in a canter in a beginners’ chase at Kilbeggan in October before being dramatically upped in class in a Grade 2 novice chase at Punchestown the following month.
The seven-year-old delivered in no uncertain terms, scoring going away from Sizing Pottsie, who has since won a valuable handicap by 6 lengths at Fairyhouse, and this fellow has undoubtedly earned a tilt at the highest level and according to the cash is up to that class.
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Henry De Bromhead’s PUT THE KETTLE ON had been due to contest the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, but the escalating Covid-19 crisis put paid to that and he now contests the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (13:10) on December 27’s Paddy Power Day at the Dublin track.
Her participation makes things more difficult for odds-on favourite Chacun Pour Soi and the money that has come for Put The Kettle On, who was as big as 16/1 and is at the time of writing currently joint second-favourite, that indicates the punters believe the ‘jolly’ can be turned over for a second year running in this heat.
Put The Kettle On may have been a big price when landing this year’s Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but it wasn’t a surprise to all as she was backed at fancier odds and she returned to the track with a superbly game effort when landing the Shloer Chase, again at Prestbury Park, last month.
Chacun Pour Soi is not only a short price for this contest, but also in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March and this will be a real test against one of the best of last season’s novices.
Another Elliott combatant BALLYADAM has been all the rage in Sunday’s Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (13:45) and he is now almost favourite for that race having once been available at a massive 4/1 – he’s just behind last season’s Champion Bumper runner-up Appreciate It.
Like his brilliant stable companion Envoi Allen, Ballyadam is owned by the Cheveley Park Stud and although unlike ‘Allen’, he has tasted defeat, but he’s still pretty damned good.
That reversal came in the unlikely setting of a Navan bumper when he was returned at 1/4, but the heavy ground may have been against him that day and he has subsequently redeemed his reputation with another bumper win. He’s unbeaten in two starts over timber, including the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse last month. He’s already proven as one of the best Irish novice hurdlers and has been backed accordingly.
On a brilliant Paddy Power Day card, the ultra-competitive Paddy Power Chase (14:55) is one of the biggest betting heats of the festive period. Once again, it’s a case of ‘In Gordon We Trust’ being the punter’s motto as they’ve hammered Farclas in from 20/1.
Their fancy put in an eye-catching effort in a handicap chase over an extended 2m 3f last month, when the Jukebox Jury gelding stayed on in the last half furlong to finish fifth and looked as if he’s crying out for the 3 miles of this valuable contest.
That was his first defeat over the larger obstacles, having registered a hat-trick in novice chases during the previous campaign, and he’s clearly expected to put in a massive performance.
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