Horse racing tips: Duke’s Sunday picks from Leopardstown and Limerick

Four of the best from the Irish meetings.

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At the halfway stage of my Christmas punting week, I can deliver a positive progress report. A couple of winners at decent prices mean January promises to be a little less bleak. Still grim obviously. Got to be shorter than 11/1 to perish during that particular stretch. Abandon hope and all that.

Not all rosy in the betting trenches of course. An atypical wager went astray. I don’t generally back horses at less than 2/1. Occasionally I can’t resist though. Cyrname, in the King George, proved one such occasion. Won’t beat myself up. Tough to see a meaty wager go west but I was convinced he should be odds-on so will console myself that I got the value.

Sunday sees the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas festival. The two Grade one races should provide plenty of Cheltenham clues. The novice chase (1.55pm) looks a proper heat. Unfortunately I have few arguments with Paddy’s prices on either race. It looks a tricky card so have added a couple of selections from Limerick.

The best bet on the Leop card comes in the first (12.10 pm). Harry Fry looks to have played a blinder with his placing of Onefortheroadtom here. His last trip to these shores saw him finish second at the Punchestown festival. He wasn’t helped by clouting the last that day. He runs off the same mark here but, significantly, competes in a lower grade.

His seasonal comeback in Cheltenham was full of promise. The winner that day went on to finish second in the Ladbokes Trophy. He did disappoint the last time. Again that was a high grade handicap. Interestingly he went off favourite. His shrewd handler evidently considers the horse well handicapped. As Tom will only be seven next week, that’s a reasonable assumption. The horse will feel like he’s been let loose in this grade, and should dominate the opposition.

Mister Fogpatches might be worth a small tickle in the novice handicap (3.05pm). This horse showed promise in bumpers and novice hurdles. He’s built on that promise in a couple of handicap starts. His first win came in Navan last time out. That form has yet to be really tested but I backed the third that day, and still consider him well handicapped. There are some promising horses from high profile yards on show here. That should mean we get a decent price about Mister Fogpatches going in again.

I thought Soviet Pimpernel had a live chance in the Royal Bond. The market disagreed. The market proved accurate. He put in a dismal run behind Envoi Allen. That run was too bad to be true. He had jumped particularly fluently on his two previous hurdle starts. That day in Fairyhouse he barely lifted a leg. His second in Cheltenham on penultimate start reads like strong form. I’ll give him a pass for the last day. Hopefully he can take advantage of a drop in class in the 1.45pm in Limerick.

The day’s banker is Duchess Ravenwaves in the 2.55pm Limerick. This Gavin Cromwell-trained mare ticks plenty of boxes. She enjoys a class edge, won’t mind the heavy ground, and Oakley Brown claims a valuable seven pounds. She disappointed when heavily punted on penultimate start in Killarney. She made no mistake when bolting up in Hexham last time. Connections obviously felt she was well handicapped in Killarney. Off just seven pounds higher, and in a lesser race she can prove them correct here.

Picks Summary

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What do you think?