Leopardstown Christmas Festival Betting Tips – Day Four
It's the fourth and final day of Leopardstown's Christmas Festival on Tuesday afternoon. Another seven-race offering from the Foxrock layout gets under way from 12.05pm through until 3.35pm, with the Grade 1 action coming in the form of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.50pm) and the Matheson Hurdle (2.25pm). The Racing Post return with their betting tips for the final day of what has been a thrilling festival of racing.
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12.05 - Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase (2m5f)
Askann has been consistent this season in her three starts over fences, though there must be some doubts over her ability to get a win dropping back in trip. Blinkers are re-added and she should give an honest account for the Torrens'.
Any market support behind Mac N Cheese for Gavin Cromwell on his return from an absence would be noted, should it arrive, but he too may find this trip is shorter than he wants today.
Theatre World was a winner in Scotland last month, but Ross O'Sullivan's charge will surely have to alleviate the jumping errors that went unpunished in that contest.
Moratorium has not gone unnoticed in three starts in beginners' chases and Gordon Elliott's charge could be set for a jolt of improvement now going into handicaps, but MEMORY TREE has more in his favour at this stage.
He was a winner in a beginners' event at Listowel (2m1f, good) in September and has since finished second (behind Bitview Colin) and third at the Kerry track and Naas respectively in handicaps, the latest on his first start since joining Henry De Bromhead. Merely inched up in the ratings, he can have excellent claims if seeing out this longer journey.
12.40 - Pigsback.com Maiden Hurdle (2m4f)
The Willie Mullins-trained Stattler had promising bumper form last season (figures 132), with each of those runs on heavy ground. He was beaten into third as odds-on favourite at Naas (2m3f, soft to heavy) in last month's hurdles bow and may well build on that, with the prospect of better ground another positive for him.
Risk Factor won a bumper here last Christmas before chasing home Sunday's Grade 1-winning juvenile Appreciate It in a Grade 2 back here at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He tipped up on his jumping bow at Galway in July when proving no match for the smart N'Golo in any case, but shaped with plenty promise at Navan (2m, good) in finishing third in September. There are races to be won with Joseph O'Brien's Duke Of Marmalade gelding.
Fakir D'Alene made a solid start taking second over hurdles at Kilbeggan in the autumn and joins Lifetime Ambition on the shortlist, the latter with runner-up finishes at Punchestown and Navan for Jessica Harrington already.
Henry De Bromhead and Rachel Blackmore landed this contest a year ago, continuing an excellent recent record for the handler, and they've got a fine contender again in FANGIO DE VASSY.
Impressive in his winning point-to-point debut last month for Robert Tyner at Dromahane before being snapped up by current connections., he ought not to be waiting long to register under rules.
1.15 - Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle (Grade 3, 2m4f)
Buildmeupbuttercup had 12-lengths in hand on third-placed Black Tears at Punchestown last month in a Listed Mares event. The winner may need to hurdle with more efficiency now and Gordon Elliott's runner could be much sharper for that comeback. She had some very good form in the book last season and must be a contender.
The likeable Mary Frances took advantage of a good opportunity last time out at Clonmel (3m, heavy) but may find herself in bother against smarter opposition today.
Though she was behind Black Tears in a handicap here over 2m2f in February, CONCERTISTA has improved since, winning the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and then scoring again at Fairyhouse in this grade on her comeback, holding off the re-opposing Minella Melody by under two-lengths.
In truth, she did that with an apparent ease and, given that Paul Townend is on board again, she appears the one to side with from the three Mullins contenders now.
Stablemate My Sister Sarah is good enough to give her a race but would ideally want further and may prove vulnerable to the cruising speed of the Nathaniel mare.
1.50 - Neville Hotels Novice Chase (Grade 1, 3m)
Monkfish just about held sway over LATEST EXHIBITION to win the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March by a neck. The Willie Mullins inmate made a winning start over fences at Fairyhouse (2m5f, soft) last month and did so seemingly in no more than third gear.
There's sure to be more to come from him as he attempts to give his trainer a first win in this Grade 1 since Don Poli in 2014.
At the prices however there's a feeling that Paul Nolan's charge can give him a race. Latest Exhibition is a rock-solid performer and has finished wither first or second in all nine starts under rules, winning five times.
He made a good winning start over fences at Punchestown (2m6½f, yielding to soft) in October and while turned over since back over the same C&D in a Grade 2, the winner Pencilfulloflead and fourth home Court Maid have strongly advertised that form since - with the former just missing out on a Grade 1 at Limerick over the weekend.
Given there wasn't much to split them at this distance over hurdles, and the fact Latest Exhibition boasts winning course form, he may be the value in the market.
Gordon Elliott has won the last three renewals and he's got live claims with Conflated and Eurobot. The latter has less to answer in terms of stamina but there's a stronger look to the form of Jack Kennedy's mount and he could be a major contender in Gigginstown silks as they look to win for the fourth year running.
2.25 - Matheson Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m)
Willie Mullins has farmed this race in recent times with seven wins in the last ten years. Sharjah bids to make it three in a row now for the Closutton supremo. He had Petit Mouchoir (second) and Coeur Sublime (third) behind last year in a contest where stablemate Klassical Dream was the big disappointment.
He also finished second to Epatante in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and needs respecting under regular pilot Patrick Mullins. He had no answer to stablemate Saldier in the 2019 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, the last time that rival was spotted on the racecourse.
A long absence shouldn't prevent him running his race for these top connections and he's got the champion jockey for company.
The third Mullins horse is SAINT ROI, tipped by many to be a major Champion Hurdle contender in the run-up to the Morgiana last month. He was turned over there by Abacadabras and Gordon Elliott's hope now sports a first-time tongue-tie in attempting to confirm that form.
That was a slowly-run event on testing ground and the chances are Saint Roi can turn things around on a sounder surface and with more pace in the race early on.
He should get that now and can re-establish himself as a contender in what is now an open Champion Hurdle picture following the mare's surprise defeat at Kempton on Saturday.
The keen-going Aspire Tower had Abacadabras in behind when making a winning return at Down Royal in a Grade 2 in October. He has changed hands since and cannot be overlooked too readily, but the feeling goes that his early enthusiasm will serve to assist the claims of Saint Roi.
3.00 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle (2m4f)
After bumper successes at Galway and Killarney in the summer and a Listowel maiden hurdle win (2m4f, soft) at the Harvest Festival in September, Joseph O'Brien's SLIGE DALA came up shy in fourth in a Listed novice contest at Limerick in October.
There's scope for better from him in these early days over timber and he can contend for the prize.
Top weight Jacksons Gold is 2-4 in novice/maiden company including a determined Thurles success (2m7f, soft) last month. He moves into handicaps with scope for better and should not be inconvenienced at this slightly shorter trip.
The hat-trick seeking Gabbys Cross is another to consider under Rachel Blackmore and, while he's had his own ideas in the past, there's no doubting that Legacy Thor has some talent. He won a maiden at Navan (2m4f, soft) earlier this month and the booking of Keith Donoghue could be a real asset for his hopes now.
3.35 - Irish Injured Jockeys Flat Race (2m)
Easy point-to-point winner HOLLOW GAMES had no trouble justifying cramped odds on rules bow for Gordon Elliott at Punchestown last month (2m, heavy). The second and third home have rubberstamped that form with their next-time-out performances and this looks a good spot for Jamie Codd's partner to double his tally.
Eurotiep made all in getting off the mark at the third time of asking last month, though he perhaps is down the pecking order in comparison to some of the bumper performers coming out of the Mullins factory at Closutton.
Having come up shy in a Listed contest against her own sex on soft-ground last month, Mare Quimby needs to bounce back now but, with Noel Meade and Pat Taaffe already tasting bumper success at this meeting, she may do better on what should be a sounder surface.