Leopardstown 29th December
12.50 Guiness M’dn H’dle 2m 4f
Ruby Walsh rides Battleford. He was very disappointing on his seasonal debut and didn’t show up at all. I’m expecting much improved run tomorrow. The ground will suit and the extra distance will certainly help. He will come on for the run and I think you could put a line through his last outing as it didn’t reflect his ability.
1.20 Willis Towers Watson EBF (Mares) H’dle (Grade 3) 2m 4f
The stable have two representatives in this race. Ruby rides Let’s Dance. This horse has some great juvenile form and the trip will definitely suit as it will help her settle. It looks to be a bit of a match between Let’s Dance and & Slowmotion who is trained by Joseph O’Brien. Let’s Dance is getting 5lbs from Joseph’s horse who is also coming back from a fall and this should give us a bit of an advantage. With a bit of luck our horse should do the business. Danny Mullins partners Daisy’s Gift who is coming back over hurdles after a fall chasing so hopefully she will get her confidence back with a nice run over hurdles. She will run her race and will hopefully pick up some place money and some black type.
1.55 Neville Hotels Novice Chase (Grade 1) 3m
We again have two in this race. Ruby rides Briar Hill. He won the Cheltenham bumper a couple of years back and we’re hopeful he’ll start to deliver on his early promise. Last time out at Navan the tip was too short and the step back up in trip to 3m will suit him just fine. He’s had a couple of falls and his confidence has been slow to come back but we’re hoping for a nice run here. He’s got the ability so we’re hoping for a bit of luck. Danny rides Bellow Mome in this race and we’re hoping to find out a bit more about him and what options we have for him at the Spring festivals. He’s a very slick jumper and he stays well so he should go well for Danny.
2.30 Ryanair H’dle (Grade 1) 2m
Nichols Canyon is the first of our two runners here. Ruby rides him and he has come out of the Morgiana hurdle very well – a race in which he was hugely impressive in the. He had some talented horses well behind him that day and looks the one to beat here. He’s a course and distance winner and has bags of ability. Daryl Jacob takes the ride on Footpad. He’s a better horse over further but he won a Grade 1 over course and distance last year. As good as he is, he doesn’t look a match for Nichols Canyon who should take a bit of beating.
Limerick 29th December
1.45 Guiness Novice H’dle (Grade 2) 3m
I take the ride on Livelovelaugh for the Ricci’s. He’s a lazy type so the trip will suit him. A relaxed racing style will help him see out the trip on heavy ground. He’s a nice horse and I’m looking forward to the ride. We also send Penhill for this and Paul Townend will ride him. His jumping wasn’t slick enough over 2m so we are stepping him up in the hope that 3m will help him settle and jump a bit slicker. It’s a hot race but I would be very hopeful of a nice run from my horse.
3.25 Irish Field INH Flat Race 2m 2f
I ride Castlegrace Paddy for Pat Fahy. I rode him in Navan last month to finish fourth and I felt he needed the run. He had a great spin over hurdles a fortnight ago and ran a blinder to finish second. That will have sharpened him up for this and I’m hopeful he will be bang there at the finish. I finished behind Noel Meade’s horse Minella Fair that day in Navan, he’s a decent horse who will be difficult to beat but I think my horse has enough improvement in him to reverse the form and come out on top.
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