Fils Sprituel was very disappointing in a maiden hurdle in Punchestown and he does have to step up on that run. We did win this race with Klassical Dream last year and this lad does go nicely at home so hopefully he’ll go close.
We run two here on Mt Leinster & Concertista. Mt Leinster had a great run in Gowran Park in his previous outing behind Easywork and hopefully he’ll jump a bit better here. Concertista had a great run in Cheltenham last year but she was very disappointing in Fairyhouse. It looks a very open race and Paul has gone for Mt Leinster. I find it hard to split the two of them but the fact that Mt Leinster has a better recent run than Concertista, I probably would have done the same as Paul.
Echoes In Rain runs in the Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle and it’s her first start over hurdles. She’s a free going filly but she goes nicely at home. Hopefully, she can run a good race but it’s a big ask first time out.
We run both Fenta Des Obeaux and Andalusa in the novice handicap hurdle and both have had plenty of chances so far. Both are still maidens and hopefully they can run good races. Fenta Des Obeaux is a free-going sort and hopefully she can settle a bit better having had a run already this season.
Andaluca’s best run did come at Leopardstown so hopefully a return to the same track will help her. I thought Exceeded Brief would be hard to beat on his Thurles run. He wouldn’t have to improve much to win this.
We’ve got the big match-up between Laurina and Fakir D’Oudaries and it should be a great race. The rain that is forecast for Thursday would be a big help to Laurina but Fakir D’Oudairies has been brilliant in his two starts so far over fences. It will be a fascinating race and I know Paul is very happy with Laurina. I think it’s a match between the two of them and it will be a huge surprise if something else wins it.
Batcio runs for Dad in the handicap chase after winning a pretty poor contest in Clonmel but this is a much more competitive contest than the race he won. He might struggle to follow up here.
This is a race where there have been plenty of talking horses in the past. Ramillies does go well at home for us and we like him. I know Patrick has gone to Limerick to ride Faugheen, but he was looking forward to riding this fella and now Richie Deegan has the mount.
Unexcepted could have run in the Grade 1 tomorrow but it made more sense to run in this race as he hasn’t a whole lot of racing done. This is a nice stepping stone for him and he goes really well. Stepping up to 2m4f shouldn’t be an issue and we like him. You’ll get a handle on Easywork after Mt Leinster runs at Leopardstown earlier in the day.
Egality Mans jumps well and he stays well too. It’s going to be testing in Limerick but I think he could be worth something. He was second in a bumper in Sligo over 2 miles. He steps up to 2m 4f here and I think this will suit him.
The trip will suit Kalanisi Og and I think the track and ground will also be right up her street. Of the three horses that we have running in handicap hurdles today, I think she has the best chance of those.
We run Faugheen against Samcro and they’re two very good horses. Samcro is coming off the back of a disappointing fall in Fairyhouse and Faugheen will probably have to eradicate the couple of mistakes he made in Punchestown. It will be a fascinating race and like the Leopardstown contest, we’ll be a lot wiser after the race. While Paul Townend has gone to Leopardstown to ride Laurina, I wouldn’t read too much into that as I’d say it was a very difficult call.
I can’t remember the last time Willie Mullins had a runner in Down Royal on December 26th but he has two in the Hunters Chase. Billaway is a great jumper and he’ll run a good race and Black Hercules was obviously a high class horse in his day. He had a recent run in a point-to-point and he should improve from that but this looks a hot enough contest.
RUBY’S BEST BETS
I’ve a pretty good record of tipping winners on December 26th and since 2015, my Nap has won every year. Unexcepted is the Nap of the day in Limerick. He’s odds-on, but I think he’ll win. Outside of that, Egality Mans will also win in Limerick and Henry de Bronhead’s Exceeded Brief will win at Leopardstown. Mickey Fogarty should have a winner for Emmett Mullins in a maiden hurdle in Down Royal with Russian Diamond.
They’re my four best bets for December 26th.
*Prices and entries correct at publishing