Leopardstown – Wednesday 28th December
Nap of the meeting – Go It Alone (12.50)
Montalbano is hard to get away from given the form of the stable he represents. Willie Mullins is certainly dominating this Christmas and he relies on this French import who showed a fair level of form on the Flat and has a run over hurdles to his name. Black Key ran a nice race on his first jumps start behind surprise winner Any Second Now at Navan and he might just be second best ahead of Cap York who is another that has arrived from France. Ask Nile and Youcannotbeserious look best of the remainder.
Exacta – 12-3
Trifecta – 12-3-4
12.50 – Go It Alone – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Go It Alone has a sporting chance of reaching the frame at least. He made steady progress last season and ended the term on a high with decisive wins at Thurles and Tipperary. He made a fair return under a big weight at Limerick at the beginning of the month and should improve for the run. This is obviously a huge step up in class but the extra distance will certainly be to his advantage and he might put it up to the likes of the recent Clonmel winner Sea Light, the much-improved Presenting Percy and Isleofhopendreams who is wrong at the weights as he bids to add to his Cork chase success of last month.
Exacta – 22-8
Trifecta – 22-8-6
1.20 – Gwencily Berbas – Ballymaloe Foods Beginners Chase – Each/Way
Gwencily Berbas has the form to go well in a very good race. Just about the best of these over hurdles, he has had two starts over fences this season and his runs behind Three Stars at Punchestown and Our Duke at Navan were fair efforts. Acapella Bourgeois is another with two chase starts to his name and while he fell on his debut over fences at Thurles, he was much improved when third to Martello Tower and A Genie In Abottle at Fairyhouse. He might have an edge over Gangster who was behind him over hurdles at the Punchestown festival in April and is making his chasing debut here. Blue Et Rouge runs for the first time since the Aintree festival in the same month and is another over fences for the first time while Don’t Touch It, a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, is one more to consider as he bids to improve on a debut over fences behind the smart Bellshill at Gowran Park a month ago.
Exacta – 8-1
Trifecta – 8-1-3
1.50 – Vroum Vroum Mag – Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle – Win
Vroum Vroum Mag should get back to winning ways. She lost her unbeaten record for her current trainer when going down narrowly to Apple’s Jade on her seasonal bow at Fairyhouse at the start of the month and if she can improve on that at all, she should be far too good for these. Back up in trip for this, the seven-year-old is taken to win from Snow Falcon who was in with every chance when coming down three hurdles from home at Newbury a month ago having earlier beaten today’s rivals De Plotting Shed and Shaneshill in great style at Navan. Kotkikova has her first run for a new trainer here but appears to bring some good form from France where she was a multiple winner over hurdles and fences.
Exacta – 7-5
Trifecta – 7-5-2
2.25 – Aretesone – Irish Daily Star Christmas Novice Handicap Hurdle – Win
Aretesone must have a leading chance. He has a little to find with Charlie Stout on their run at Navan in mid-November but can turn the form around at today’s weights. His most recent start at Limerick reads very well with the winner that day coming out and scoring in good style at same venue yesterday. Charlie Stout has done well since he clashed with the selection and he ran second at Fairyhouse before accounting for this afternoon’s top-weight Bull Ride when winning at Thurles. Tudor City ran a big race when second at Cheltenham seven weeks ago and is another to note along with both Camlann and Ben Dundee.
Exacta – 6-8
Trifecta – 6-8-3
3.00 – Djakadam – Grade 1 Lexus Chase – Win
Djakadam can win the race of the festival. He ran his best race when runner-up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March but really caught the eye when beating today’s rival Outlander to land the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown earlier in the month. The step back up in trip will certainly be to his advantage and he can win form Valseur Lido who captured his biggest prize to date when running away with the Grade 1 at Down Royal in early November. Zabana faces his stiffest test but might not be far away if improving on his success at Gowran Park late last month. Road To Riches and Don Poli need to improve too on their recent form to get involved.
Exacta – 2-12
Trifecta – 2-12-8
3.35 – Carter McKay – Midland Legal Solicitors INH Flat Race – Win
Carter McKay is sure to be all the rage. He has his first start for the champion trainer here and was a winner in the point-to-point field when last seen in April. Moyross was a more recent winner ‘between the flags’ and might emerge as the greatest threat to the selection ahead of Caliption who didn’t run too badly over hurdles at Navan two weeks ago. Raise A Tail returns from a long absence but is certainly on to watch in the betting markets later in the afternoon.
Exacta – 1-2
Trifecta – 1-2-5
Limerick – Wednesday 28th December
Nap of the day – Returntovendor (2.50)
12.00 – Coquin Mans – Woodlands House Hotel Adare Maiden Hurdle – Win
Coquin Mans should be another Christmas winner for Willie Mullins. He was a bumper winner in France in March of 2015 and while he hasn’t run since then, his absence is hardly a worry coming from these quarters. Nanny Stone is likely to be next best as she outran her odds to finish second at Wexford last month while Calin Des Ongrais was beaten a long way at the same venue in October but is sure to do better this time.
Exacta – 1-15
Trifecta – 1-15-3
12.35 – Dicosimo – D Pack Packaging Celebrating 10 Years In Business Beginners Chase – Win
Dicosimo will be winning this if recapturing any of his old form. He won the Listed hurdle on the card last year but failed to complete on three subsequent starts during the season. He appears for the first time since Punchestown in April and given the form of his stable will be warm order to win from Stone Hard who has had a recent outing over fences at Punchestown last month where he finished a fair fourth behind Haymount, Coney Island and Mall Dini. That is good from and he might be a greater threat than Hurry Henry who was a moderate third to Yorkhill on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse.
Exacta – 2-9
Trifecta – 2-9-4
1.10 – Final Gift – Cube Veterans Handicap Chase – Each/Way
Final Gift might just be the answer to this tricky heat. He is a nice consistent sort and ran a big race at Punchestown in October before doing well again at Thurles at the beginning of the month. Golden Plan won his maiden hurdle here a couple of seasons ago and certainly has a chance if reproducing his most recent form at Clonmel three weeks ago when he was sixth behind Powersbomb in a stronger race than this. Letter Of Credit certainly drops in class after contesting a Listed chase at Thurles last time but he should be considered after running so well over hurdles at the same venue in October. As De Pique ran a huge race to finish sixth in the big handicap chase at Leopardstown yesterday and would also be of interest if turning out again.
Exacta – 8-6
Trifecta – 8-6-2
1.40 – Kate Appleby Shoes – Frontline Security Maiden Hurdle – Win
Kate Appleby Shoes was a fair bumper performer and can make a belated winning start to her jumping career. She hasn’t run since winning a bumper here in March of 2015 but she is sure to know her job and should take all the beating. Gunnery Sergeant was a bumper winner at Punchestown in October of last year and he went on to finish third in a Grade 1 hurdle at Fairyhouse the following month. He ran for the first time since then when a moderate seventh in a good maiden hurdle at the same County Meath venue earlier this month and is likely to improve. Island Remede has had just the three starts but her run at Cork a month ago should see her home a clear third best.
Exacta – 4-2
Trifecta – 4-2-3
2.15 – Missy Tata – Irish Independent Hurdle (Listed) – Win
Missy Tata is on a roll and should be winning again. She won here back in October and added to that with a convincing success over Slowmotion and Swamp Fox (who ran at Leopardstown yesterday) at Naas the following month. Her form reads well and she is chosen ahead of Cap D’Aubois who was a winner over hurdles in his native France this time last year and was only a 16/1 chance to win a Grade 1 at Punchestown on his first start for Willie Mullins at the end of April. He runs for the
first time since then now and can be expected to be a bigger danger than Allblak Des Places who was fifth here behind Val De Ferbet on St Stephen’s Day. Brelade ran at Leopardstown yesterday and misses out.
Exacta – 5-1
Trifecta – 5-1-2
2.50 – Returntovendor – Parkway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Returntovendor is the pick. He was running for the first time since May when runner-up to this afternoon’s rival Queeny over a longer trip at Thurles at the start of the month and he might just improve that little bit more to turn the form around. Supreme Steel had Honest Robber behind him when runner-up to Sea Scorpion at Tramore recently and he looks a big threat. At the top of the handicap, Notification might also have a chance and both Theatre Princess and The Grey Guy are also worth a second look.
Exacta – 8-7
Trifecta – 8-7-6
3.25 – Judgement Day – Greenmount Equine Hospital INH Flat Race – Win
Judgement Day could well land the finale. He won a point-to-point at Liscarroll in March and makes his debut for new connections here. There little or no racecourse form to go on and perhaps the newcomer Pershing Missile will be next best ahead of the Thurles fourth Ballyluskey and Majestic Warrior who is another running for the first time. Goose Man, No Secrets Here and Go Roddy Go could also go well.
Exacta – 7-10
Trifecta – 7-10-1