Leopardstown Preview 28th December

A feast of Irish jump racing lies ahead over the Christmas holidays

Alan Marron is back to preview Day 3 of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.

We were fortunate to get a couple of winners on the board yesterday with Chacun Pour Soi and Ballycairn in the bumper. A very interesting card today and hopefully a winner or two.

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12.05 TOTE.IE MAIDEN HURDLE 2M 4F

INDIGO BREEZE looks one of the main contenders for the team of Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott.

This horse won an Alnwick Point to Point in the UK by twenty five lengths before being purchased for 90k. He was very impressive on his debut for this yard in Thurles when he won his bumper by seven and a half lengths.

He improved off the back of that run to finish second on hurdling debut when he looked all over the winner only to be caught close home by Keskonrisk trained by Joseph O Brien. He steps up in trip here and that could really help him.

He will no doubt be held onto a little longer this time around and he should take plenty of beating.

12.40 PERTEMPS NETWORK HANDICAP QUALIFIER 3M

At a double figure price in the colours of Robcour DOMMAGE POUR TOI could go well as he reverts back to the smaller obstacles with a tongue tie applied for the first time.

This horse finished fifth to the Colin Tizzard trained Reserve Tank at the Punchestown Festival back in 2019 and even though he was well beaten on the day connections obviously think plenty of him.

We also seen him finish down the field behind Apples Jade at this meeting last season in a Grade One. I think the step up to three miles could be perfect for him. His chasing career has been a bit stop start and he has been favourite for his last three runs.

If Rachel Blackmore can get him settled in the tongue tie he might just finish out his race better.

Looks a value each way alternative in a competitive contest.

1.15 LEOPARDSTOWN CHRISTMAS HURDLE (GRADE 1) 3M

This race looks an absolute cracker and RONALD PUMP will be my selection here following a very good run when flying home to finish second behind Honeysuckle in the Bar One Racing Hattons Grace Hurdle last time out.

He will be much more at home over three miles as he showed when finishing a gallant second in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham last season. He fell at the last in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on his first run this season but I think he was just starting to stay on.

There is definitely a big pot in this horse and hopefully today is the day. He was second at this meeting last season behind Treacysenniscorthy in the Pertemps Qualifier when he stayed on strongly.

If he is close jumping the last then the stamina reserves will kick in and he should be hard to beat.

1.50 IRISH DAILY STAR CHRISTMAS HANDICAP HURDLE 2M 4F

AIRCRAFT CARRIER looks a very interesting runner here for Luke Comer and Ricky Doyle based on some very intriguing flat form.

His hurdles form hasn’t set the world alight but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a good run this time around. The last time we seen this horse he was third in a Group Two on the flat in Hoppegarten in Germany when ridden by Andreas Starke. He stayed on well on that occasion over two miles so the trip should be no issue here.

Prior to that we seen him finish second in the Irish Cesarewitch behind the Emmet Mullins trained Cape Gentleman. That form looks very strong in terms of this race and he looks nicely handicapped. In his early career this horse was trained by Aidan O’Brien before going to John Ryan in the UK where he won three on the bounce on the all weather at the back end of 2018 and early 2019.

I would keep a close eye on the market in regards to this horse. Could go very close with luck in running.

2.25 SAVILLS CHASE (GRADE ONE) 3M

One of the features of the Christmas Festival and we are absolutely spoiled for choice here with a cracking field.

MELON is a horse that I always thought needed a step up to three miles and he gets it here for the first time over fences in a very competitive race. He was very good over hurdles and finished a neck second to Buveir D’Air in the Champion Hurdle back in 2018.

He was a close second back at Cheltenham last season behind Samcro in the Marsh Novice Chase where he was in front and got headed and nearly battled back to regain the lead only to miss out by a nose.

His first run this season wasn’t a bad run when he finished third behind stablemates Min and Tornado Flyer.

He could just fly under the radar here and if he stays the trip he could go close at a very big price.

3.00 BALLYMALOE FOODS BEGINNERS CHASE 2M 5F

This race is simply all about THE BIG GETAWAY and it could be a quick double for owner Jill Donnelly if Melon gets his head in front in the feature.

I was disappointed with this horse on his debut over the larger obstacles when he was a well beaten third behind Conflated at Navan. He pecked on landing at the first fence and then stumbled at the second and I think that completely knocked his confidence and he never travelled.

He will have been extremely well schooled for this second run and I think connections will be very disappointed if he gets beaten. He was third to Envoi Allen in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and that form alone leaves him a standout in this company.

Patrick Mullins was always of the opinion that this horse would be a better chaser than a hurdler so hopefully he can be proved right with a clear round today.

Will take all the beating here at short odds.

3.35 MIDLAND LEGAL SOLICITORS INH FLAT RACE

A somewhat speculative selection to end the card but QUE FAMOSO went into my notebook after a very eye catching run in a maiden hurdle last time out and it is very interesting that connections have chosen a bumper as his next run.

He was well beaten behind a very impressive winner in Hook Up trained by Willie Mullins but he stayed on nicely to finish fifth but was never dangerous. If he can improve off the back of that run he looks a solid each way proposition here at a big price.

He is related to several bumper winners in West Cork Wildway, Minellafordollars and Bigpipenotobacee.

I would keep a close eye on the market with a small each way play advised to end the card.



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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article