Day 3 of the festival at Leopardstown will have to pass an inspection before going ahead. But we most definitely want it on as a host of smart horses are ready to go…
12:15 Maiden Hurdle
In the opening maiden hurdle, it’s interesting that Noel Fehily has been booked by Henry De Bromhead for his Daybreak Boy. This horse has some smart form on the level: he finished fourth in a listed race at Limerick on heavy ground – so the ground here will not be a problem.
Flawless Escape ran a belter behind one of Willie Mullins’s at Punchestown and could be the answer here.
12:50 Pertemps Network Handicap
This is a qualifier for the Cheltenham festival, and the winner of the final, Presenting Percy, ran in this last year but didn’t win. On this occasion I fancy one to run well at a decent price…
A Great View went nicely last time when fourth at Fairyhouse and could go well but Didero Vallis finished strongly at Fairyhouse last time for Willie Mullins, and should hit the frame.
13:20 Christmas Hurdle
This is a race where Apples Jade is favourite having won both starts this year. The step up in trip looks like it will help her and she’s worth her place at the head of the market.
However I think the current Stayers Hurdle winner Nicholls Canyon will get the better of her. He loved it at Cheltenham and just looked a bit rusty last time out.
13:50 Novice Handicap Hurdle
I know I am a sucker for a Tony Martin horse but Sweet Company could be really well handicapped based on some of his flat form. He gets in here on a mark of 101 – he competed off a mark in the 80’s on the flat and if he produces anything like that ability over jumps he will win this.
Moreover, 10st 2lbs is light for Denis O’Regan and that’s what’s swayed it for me.
Meanwhile, Low Sun is highly thought of by the Mullins team and they will expect better than what we saw last time.
14:25 NH Flat
I am going for a Mullins horse again here.
Admittedly, I’m torn between Young Wolf, who is a brother to Neon Wolf (runner up in the Neptune at the festival this year) and Voix des Tiep. But given that Patrick Mullins has gone for the latter, it gets the nod.
15:00 Leopardstown Chase
The big one is the clash between the talented-but-quirky Yorkhill and the reigning Gold cup winner Sizing John. Throw in some of the placed horses from last year’s Gold Cup in Minella Rocco and Djakadam and you have a race to savour.
I was so impressed with Sizing John at Punchestown that he gets the nod here. He looked better than ever that day. Yorkhill is a puzzle: he has so much potential, but is not an easy ride and in his first run of the season he will be hard to control.