We failed to get a winner on the board on Day 1 at Leopardstown, but at least we picked up some place money. Jon Ess ran better than his finishing position and distance beaten suggest. A sticky jump at a crucial time cost him dearly but he did keep on well in the home straight. Got Trumped again looked a shade green but he has an engine and he battled on well to grab 3rd.
Tara Dylan looked as though she would finish out with the washing, but to her credit she stayed on pluckily from half a mile out. She was left with far too much to do but thankfully she finished 4th and a lot of bookies paid 4 places each way. Us And Them was no match for Le Richebourg but bravely won the battle for 2nd, while Quamino fell early on. There is plenty more quality fare to get stuck into on Day 2 and you can check out my tips below…
The opening 3yo maiden hurdle is a two mile contest and a bumper field of 29 horses will go to post. Joseph O’Brien has been handed a couple of classy flat performers by his Dad and of his two, Sir Erec looks the most interesting.
This Galileo colt was a Listed winner with a rating of 109 on the level and he got to within 2.5L of Stradivarius in a Group 2 at Ascot on his last start in that sphere back in October. If he jumps well he should win this but taking 5/4 about a horse that has never faced a hurdle in public is risky.
|Gordon Elliott won this race a few years back with Flaxen Flare.|
Instead, I will be taking a chance on Ingenuity for Gordon Elliott with Davy Russell in the plate. This fella was a couple of stone inferior to Sir Erec on the flat and his sole win in that discipline came in a 6f 2yo maiden for Jedd O’Keefe.
However, he is by an excellent national hunt sire in Slickly, a stallion that has produced quality jumpers like Call Me Lord, Bertimont and Olofi. Stamina is a worry on the dam side of Ingenuity’s pedigree but if he stays, he could outrun his odds of 20/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.10-INGENUITY E/W @ 20/1
The second race on the card is a 17f Beginners’ Chase and nine horses will line up at the start. A few of these bring serious hurdling form into the race, including Paloma Blue (15/8), Real Steel (7/2), Moon Over Germany (4/1) and Mitchouka (12/1). They all have Graded form over timber, but so does 16/1 shot Impact Factor and I think he is worth chancing each way in a first time hood.
This fella was beaten half a length by Hardline in a Grade 2 hurdle at Naas earlier this year and that horse has franked that form in no uncertain terms since. He was only 2L behind Paloma Blue in a maiden hurdle at this meeting last year and he was in the process of going close on his second start over fences when falling at the last. If the hood sharpens up his jumping I think he could go well and at 16/1, he is the each way suggestion.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.40-IMPACT FACTOR E/W @ 16/1
This Grade 1 2 mile chase has attracted seven horses and it is a proper Christmas cracker. Footpad will be looking to make amends for his fall at Naas last time, as will Great Field who tipped up at Cork. That is hardly ideal preparation coming into a race that will require an exceptional round of jumping at high speed.
|Simply Ned showed there was life left in the old dog yet last time out.|
Ballyoisin brings a big reputation into this race and he is on a mission to complete a five timer. He is obviously a big danger on ground that will suit him perfectly, but after a superb effort behind Sceau Royal at Cheltenham last time, I think Simply Ned is the one they have to beat.
He was rightly awarded this race in the Stewards’ room last year with Min demoted to 2nd. This likeable son of Fruits Of Love will relish the nice ground and has career form figures here of 32312. At odds of 16/1 he looks well worth chancing each way against his younger rivals.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.15-SIMPLY NED E/W @ 16/1 NB
We get another festive treat with this 2 mile Grade 1 Novice Hurdle and six will battle it out for the £100k pot. Sancta Simona will be partnered by Barry Geraghty and his confidence is likely to be on the floor after getting beaten on Buveur D’Air at Kempton. In any case, I prefer the chances of Triplicate after his excellent efforts behind Quick Grabim at Fairyhouse last time (Aramon behind) and at Tipperary (Easy Game behind).
I think that form is the best on offer in this race by some distance, particularly when you consider what Easy Game has gone on to do. He was almost 5L behind Triplicate in 3rd at Tipperary and with no Quick Grabim in the field this time, Triplicate can go on to claim a much deserved breakthrough success at the highest level. At odds of 3/1 he is the NAP of the day.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.50-TRIPLICATE WIN @ 3/1 NAP
This 18 runner 2 mile handicap hurdle looks an extremely tricky contest to solve so I am taking a punt on one at huge odds. Veinard is a horse that I have tipped up before and while he has only won once during his career, I am convinced he has another race of this nature in him. He is a hold up sort who needs to be produced on the line, and he saves his best form for Leopardstown.
He was a big eyecatcher on his last run here back in February off a mark of 126, slicing through the field in the last three furlongs to finish 7th of 28. He was beaten just under 9L by the winner but he was only 1L off Tudor City (5th). He is 7lb better off with that rival today off a mark of 123 and if Elliott has him ready to rock on his return from a break a big run could be on the cards at odds of 25/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 2.25-VEINARD E/W @ 25/1 (5 PLACES POWERS)
The 24.5f Paddy Power Handicap Chase is always a fiercely contested heat and this year is no exception. A massive field of 28 chasers will take their chances and luck always plays a part in races of this nature. Scoir Mear creeps in off a feather weight for Thomas Mullins and JP McManus and Conor Maxwell will ride.
|Scoir could soar upped in trip on good ground.|
I have been waiting a long time for this fella to tackle 3 miles on decent ground. I tipped him up at Cheltenham in 2017 in the 21f Coral Cup and he flew home for 5th, 6L behind Supasundae, on the good to soft ground.He was sent chasing last season and most of his runs came over shorter. His sole run at 23f was on bottomless ground and that was never going to suit.
I thought he shaped well at Navan last time behind today’s favourite De Name Escapes Me and he is 14lb better off with that rival now. Thomas Mullins has his string in great form and at odds of 33/1 Scoir Mear is worth chancing each way (7 places).
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.00-SCOIR MEAR E/W @ 33/1 (7 PLACES E/W POWERS)
A trappy looking bumper that I won’t be having a bet on.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.30 LEOPARDSTOWN-NO BET