A pair of Grade 1’s in the shape of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55pm) and the Ryanair Hurdle (2.30pm) usher in the fourth and final day here at Leopardstown, with the track set to be hit by some fairly rough weather for the denouement of its great Christmas fixture, the best of which you’ll see live with us on RTE2.
Both feature just four runners, with Drinmore winner No More Heroes a best price 2/5 to extend his winning sequence over fences to three in the former, while a little later it’s Nichols Canyon, the only horse to have beaten runaway Christmas Hurdle winner Faugheen, who is no bigger than 1/2 to claim his sixth Grade 1 prize.
That means opportunities are probably limited, especially with the ground riding Heavy, so we’ll look further afield for the day’s sole recommendation, to Doncaster and their two mile Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (1.10pm).
Six go to post for this, featuring some promising types such as Donald McCain’s Katachenko, who won a messy race at Wetherby on Charlie Hall Chase day, but couldn’t follow up off a pound higher next time out – he’ll have to pull out more having gone up another four pounds here.
Charlie Longsdon’s Long Lunch travelled beautifully through his race at Sandown last time out, just fading late on, suggesting today’s drop back in trip could be a huge asset, while former Imperial Cup hero Baltimore Rock can surely play a hand if fit and ready to roll on his first try over fences, reappearing as he does after a 262-day absence.
However, perhaps the one with the least question marks is Brian Ellison’s runner, The Grey Taylor.
He has the assistance of jockey Richard Johnson, as the Herefordshire man blazes a trail towards a double century of winners for the season, currently motoring along on 167.
The Grey Taylor was a very useful hurdler, winning two of five starts, and going off at 5/1 for Kemtpon’s prestigious Dovecote Novice’s Hurdle back in February.
It’s over fences though that he has the potential to be even better, a school of thought encouraged by October’s pillar to post win over the larger obstacles at Carlisle.
Confidence is high after that, and Ellison has his string in great nick, firing in five winners from his last 17 runners.
Tuesday’s best bet: