It’s the second day of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown on Sunday afternoon, with a brace of Grade 1 races and some ferocious handicaps in store at the famous Foxrock track.
The Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (1.10pm) and the Future Champions Novice Hurdle (1.45pm) are amongst the key attractions on a seven-race card (12.05pm-3.30pm).
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12.05 – Paddy Power ‘only 4 More Days Until 2021’ 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle (2m)
After finishing second to the exciting Zanahiyr on his hurdling bow at Ballinrobe in October, Dark Voyager was a rather disappointing fourth next time at Punchestown. He represents the champion trainer/jockey combo and it won’t be a surprise if he’s a winner soon. He was beaten on the level however by FLYING SCOTSMAN at Galway in the summer and while Joseph O’Brien’s charge was behind him on his own hurdling bow at Punchestown, he has since stepped forward on that to be third at Cork and may have the answers now. French Aseel is a promising-looking newcomer.
Selection: Flying Scotsman @
12.35 – Paddy Power Games ‘don’t Think You’re Special’ Beginners Chase (2m1f)
Klassical Dream hasn’t been spotted since a poor showing in a Grade 1 hurdle here 12 months ago. The former Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner makes his chasing bow and is deserving of plenty of respect. January Jets just about sets the standard on chase form after good efforts at Down Royal and Naas, he’s a big player while Defi Bleu should be sharper for his comeback at Navan last month. JEREMY’S FLAME travelled with plenty of purpose in a Grade 3 Mares’ Novice last time at Cork and can have a say if building on that now.
Selection: Jeremy’s Flame @
1.10 – Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (Grade 1, 2m1f)
He was turned over by A Plus Tard in this contest last year but, having won Cork’s Hilly Way Chase en route here this time, CHACUN POUR SOI is expected to strip match-fit and prove hard to beat. He won well in Cork and that should set him up perfectly for this. It’s no penalty kick however, as both Notebook and Arkle winner Put The Kettle On are live dangers. Henry De Bromhead’s mare really stuck to her guns to win last month at Cheltenham and will likely not go down without a scrap.
Selection: Chacun Pour Soi @
1.45 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m)
A Willie Mullins vs. Gordon Elliot duel in prospect in the Future Champions as both Appreciate It and BALLYADAM have plenty of talent at their disposal. The former was downed by stablemate Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper back in March after attracting big market support, but that was still strong form. He did what was required on hurdles bow at Cork last month (1/12fav, runner-up won since). Ballyadam is already 2-2 over timber and can boast a Grade 1 win in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse where he had some of these rivals behind. This is another step up for him but that experience may count for plenty and he gets a slender vote.
Selection: Ballyadam @
2.20 – Paddy Power ‘maybe I Like The Misery’ Handicap Hurdle (2m)
Ena Baie has form over course and distance and needs a look in the betting returned from an absence having joined this trainer from Harry Fry. There are of course numerous contenders in the same JP McManus silks, recent Dundalk all-weather scorer Winner Takes Itall being the pick of Mark Walsh and a major player back over hurdles. YOU RAISED ME UP was placed in a similar C&D contest at the Dublin Racing Festival in February and Martin Brassil’s charge readily won a Listowel maiden on his only start since, form advertised by the second and third scoring subsequently. A short break since that September score is no worry for a horse that goes well fresh and he’s worth following in a wide open heat.
Selection: You Raised Me Up @
2.55 – Paddy Power Chase (Grade B, 3m)
The unforgettable late surge of Roaring Bull to win this contest last year merely illustrated what a devilish puzzle it presents. He’s back for another crack now and while mostly disappointing since, his Troytown second at Navan was a reminder he could put it all together and Gavin Brouder’s 7lb claim is a big help. A host of Gigginstown contenders come out in force but perhaps handicap debutants HOME BY THE LEE or Ten Ten can have a leading say. The latter had a nice hurdles spin at Naas last month and now tackles a new trip but it’s Joseph O’Brien’s challenger that gets the vote. He won his first two over fences at Limerick and Cork (2m6f/2m4f) before a solid run in third behind Envoi Allen in the Drinmore. He, too, faces three miles for the first time and is most interesting.
Selection: Home By The Lee @
3.30 – paddy Power Flat One’ Flat Race (2m4f)
Willie Mullins often targets this with a good horse and REALITY CHEQUE fits the bill for Team Closutton. He was narrowly defeated by Highland Charge on his debut at Fairyhouse after a ding-dong battle and should be wise for that experience, while this longer trip promises to suit the point-to-point winner. Noel Meade will have hopes of flooring him again with Navan second Killer Mode and he joins Ballycairn (four lengths behind him on debut) for Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd on the shortlist.
Selection: Reality Cheque @
*All odds correct at time of writing