Leopardstown – Tuesday 27th December
12.15 – Housesofparliament – Paddy Power Three-Year-Old Hurdle – Win
Housesofparliament is presumably the pick of Barry Geraghty and is sure to be the most popular choice. A high-class operator on the Flat, he was rated 113 after finishing a close third in the St Leger at Doncaster in September. That is pretty outstanding form and he is certainly the one to beat. Joseph O’Brien complicates matters a little as he also runs Sword Fighter who was also a fair Flat performer but was well behind the selection at Doncaster and is overlooked for now. His Tree Of Knowledge was well beaten over hurdles at Cork and a bigger threat to the other pair should come from French import Meri Devie who also showed fair form at the highest level on the Flat.
Exacta – 6-12
Trifecta – 6-12-16
12.45 – Bacardys – Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle – Win
Bacardys was one of the better bumper performers of last season and should be winning this with a clear round. It is a worry that he fell on his jumping debut at Cork five weeks ago but will surely have learnt from that and can make amends. Capital Force went close in a good maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse and is taken to chase the selection home ahead of Kolumbus who won a bumper at Kilbeggan in April but came down on his first start over hurdles at Cork a little over two weeks ago.
Exacta – 3-4
Trifecta – 3-4-8
1.20 – Douvan – Grade 1 Paddy Power Cashcard Chase – Win
Douvan is the star of the show and impossible to oppose. He showed his well-being when a winner at Cork earlier in the month and stands out in this, or possibly any other, company. The race for second place is likely to be far more competitive and perhaps British-raider Simply Ned can win that as he has had the benefit of a couple of recent outings. Sizing John was well behind the selection at Punchestown in April and runs for the first time since then here while Black Hercules has a little to prove after a below par effort at Punchestown 16 days ago.
Exacta – 3-4
Trifecta – 3-4-5
1.55 – Avenir d’Une Vie – Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle – Win
Avenir d’Une Vie is just preferred. He was a busy bumper performer last season but did very well on occasion and impressed to a point when a winner on his first start over hurdles at Fairyhouse in mid-November. It can’t have been easy for the young rider but Bryan Cooper has presumably chosen him ahead of Peace News who was sent off favourite for the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier in the month but came down when still in with every chance at the second last. He had earlier won in good style at Cork and might be a bigger danger than the runaway Thurles winner Riven Light and Sunni May who is the only contender with two wins over hurdles to his name.
Exacta – 1-7
Trifecta – 1-7-8
2.30 – That’s A Wrap – Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
That’s A Wrap is heading in the right direction and should be thereabouts. He was a winner over a couple of furlongs further than this at Galway at the end of October and followed up in convincing fashion over this trip at Navan the following month and can hold his own in this better company. There are any number of dangers and possibly Swamp Fox heads that list after a fair effort in a Grade 3 after his convincing success at the Listowel festival. Supasundae was a winner on this day last year and might not be short of support as he runs in his first handicap hurdle. He has a considerable absence to overcome however and the same can be said of De Name Escapes Me who might want softer ground and Ice Cold Soul who was a winner on yesterday’s card a year ago. Okotos is surely another to watch out for.
Exacta – 18-8
Trifecta – 18-8-1
3.00 – Oscar Knight – Paddy Power Handicap Chase – Each/Way
Oscar Knight could be the one to side with. A winner at Galway in October, he threw away a winning chance with a bad mistake at the second last fence at Punchestown five weeks ago before bouncing back with a facile success at Navan earlier this month. This is certainly a stiffer task but he could be up to the job and is chosen ahead of Rogue Trader who ran out the winner of that Punchestown event where he beat today’s rivals Sonny B and On The Shannon. Bonny Kate certainly has the form to run a big race and chances can also be given to the likes of The Crafty Butcher, Gallant Oscar and Peoples Park.
Exacta – 24-12
Trifecta – 24-12-11
3.35 – Minella Fair – Paddy Power INH Flat Race – Win
Minella Fair is given another chance. He possibly ran into a future star when runner-up to Dr Wallace at Navan last time and a reproduction of that run might just be good enough. A couple of recent outings will certainly stand to him and he gets the vote over the long-absent Ballyward who appears for the first time since contesting a point-to-point at Tyrella in March. Caltex needs to improve on his racecourse debut at Fairyhouse three weeks ago but he could yet be third best ahead of Follow Your Dream and Scarteen.
Exacta – 3-6
Trifecta – 3-6-7
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Limerick – Tuesday 27th December
Nap of the meeting – Fly Round The Bend (1.00)
12.00 – Some Neck – David Fitzgerald – Take It Easee Maiden Hurdle – Win
Some Neck has had a recent run and gets the vote to make a winning start to his jumping career. He wasn’t up to winning a bumper but ran a few nice races in that sphere and his effort behind Champagne Classic at Fairyhouse in November has a fair look to it. Classic Place hasn’t run since March where he finished second to subsequent winner Give Me A Copper and he looks the danger ahead of Black Franks Angel and the Thurles runner-up Freeway Space.
Exacta – 11-5
Trifecta – 11-5-12
12.30 – Chambord Du Lys – Goggin Buckley Mares Maiden Hurdle – Win
Chambord Du Lys might be up to the job on her first start for the champion trainer. Yet another French import, she must have caught the eye when third on her sole outing to date in her native land back in June of 2015. She returns to action now and is preferred to Coquine D’Aunou who is another that has arrived from France but who might have been a little fortunate to finish runner-up to the selection’s stable companion Crack Mome at Clonmel three weeks, her first start since September of last year. The Kings Baby might just be third best ahead of Just Janice.
Exacta – 6-7
Trifecta – 6-7-16
1.00 – Fly Round The Bend – BRC McMahon Reinforcements Handicap hurdle – Each/Way
Fly Round The Bend drops back in trip after finishing a promising second at Clonmel almost three weeks ago and should go well again. She was having her first run since March on that occasion and should confirm form with Conna Cross who was just behind her in third place. Black Ice won this race last year and goes back over hurdles after three recent runs over fences. Might Be Magic is another that should improve after a recent run while Rebel Ace is hard to ignore although he hasn’t run since April.
Exacta – 11-2
Trifecta – 11-2-3
1.35 – Clontarf – Roches Feeds Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Clontarf should improve for the step back up in trip and might not be far away if coping with the ground. He was a winner over this distance on a very different surface at Down Royal in May and two recent outings at Punchestown and Navan read very well. Call Vinnie might just be second best as he goes back over hurdles and might reverse Cork form with Coolbane West at these weights. Coolbane West is running well and went on to finish just in front of Tawseef when third to Irish Bulletin over the course and distance at the beginning of the month. Another good run is likely and he might just edge the recent Tramore winner Sea Scorpion out of the placings.
Exacta – 9-10
Trifecta – 9-10-3
2.10 – Pairofbrowneyes – Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase – Win
Pairofbrowneyes appears to be in good form and might be ready to win again. Successful in this race last year, he chased home Sub Lieutenant over the course and distance in October and ran another blinder when second over a shorter trip at Cheltenham last time. Just Cause certainly drops in class after taking on some of the better novices around at Punchestown five weeks ago and he could go well as could Westerner Point who was a winner on his first outing since May at Cork late last month. Smadynium is in great form and comes here on the back of a cosy success at Clonmel while Domesday Book knows his way around here and is just one more to consider. Sumos Novios misses out with a stone bruise.
Exacta – 2-10
Trifecta – 2-10-15
2.45 – Dimple – Earl Of Harrington Memorial Maiden hunters Chase – Win
Dimple is only a five-year-old and can certainly put it up to his older rivals. He is on a roll in the point-to-point field and is chasing his fourth win on the bounce here. Sweet As A Nut is all the rage in the early betting and looks to have the form to go well while Quarry Rua and Captain Bizarro are just two more to note.
Exacta – 5-15
Trifecta – 5-15-11
3.20 – Duke Cass – Clohessy’s Bar Rated Novice Hurdle – Win
Duke Cass was a winner over the course and distance at the start of the month and is taken to follow up. He got the better of Aretesone and the gambled-on Artful Artist to score that day and the form looks more than reasonable. Usurp won over this trip at Fairyhouse in early October but looks to have more on his plate this time. However, he still makes more appeal than Tinos Tank who was a winner on the same Fairyhouse card but was soundly beaten in a better race at Navan next time. The trio look to have the race between them.
Exacta – 4-2
Trifecta – 4-2-1
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