Final Nudge let us down in the Welsh Grand National. He faded badly in the closing stages and was pulled up. Double Shuffle could only manage 5th in the King George, but we did recommend having a saver on Clan Des Obeaux so hopefully you followed our advice. There are a couple of Grade 1s at Leopardstown on Friday as their Xmas festival continues. Dave Stevos has previewed the card and you can check his Leopardstown Friday tips below.
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 12.10-Maiden Hurdle
It is a tricky start for punters at Leopardstown on Friday. French import Elite Charbonier is a short price to make a winning start for Mullins, Walsh and Ricci. The strength of his form in France is questionable though and he could be worth taking on. At a decent price Niccolai could go well for each way players.
Henry De Bromhead won a maiden at this meeting last year with Ellie Mac for the same owners. Her point to point 2nd has worked out really well and the ground was likely too testing for her at Tramore. Rachael Blackmore takes over from a claimer in the saddle which is another positive. At odds of 14/1 Niccolai is worth chancing each way in an open race.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 12.10-NICCOLAI E/W @ 14/1 NAP
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 12.45-Handicap Hurdle
This contest has been a minefield for favourite backers in recent times. The shortest priced winner since 2010 was 10/1 and last year a 33/1 shot prevailed. With 23 horses declared for this 3 mile heat another surprise result could be on the cards. The trainer of last season’s victor has another one at a big price here, Small World. This son of Shantou will love the ground and Jack Kennedy is a fascinating booking.
He was on board for this horse’s win at Ballinrobe in July and the blinkers worn that day are back on. Small World is admittedly 6lb higher now, but we think this 7yo could have more to offer. The drop back in trip didn’t suit last time and his last run over 3 miles was not devoid of promise. Off a feather weight Small World could make a bold bid from the front and a small e/w interest is advised at 33/1 with 6 places available.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 12.45-SMALL WORLD E/W @ 33/1 6 PLACES
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 1.20-Beginners Chase
We think Tower Bridge is the one to be interested in here. Joseph O’Brien’s horse has placed form at Grade 1 level over timber and is a previous course winner. He needed his comeback run last season before going close at this meeting. For that reason, we are putting a line through his seasonal return at Punchestown.
He will relish the return to Leopardstown and the good ground won’t bother him either. JJ Slevin keeps the ride and that is no surprise as he gets on well with the son of High Chaparral. With only six horses going to post, a win bet is recommended on Tower Bridge.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 1.20-TOWER BRIDGE WIN @ 13/2 NB
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 1.50-Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1)
The first Grade 1 of the day is the 3 mile Christmas Hurdle and Apple’s Jade looks hard to oppose. She sluiced up on both starts so far this season and looked better than ever. Supasundae was 20L behind here over 20f at Fairyhouse in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace early this month. This time it looks as though she has Faugheen to beat.
The step back up to 24f should help ‘The Machine’ but at 10yo his best years could be behind him. Giving 7lb to Apple’s Jade could be a bridge too far for him. We can see Jack Kennedy sending Apple’s Jade to the front early and she may not come back to them. At odds of 8/13 she will take a lot of beating.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 1.50-APPLE’S JADE WIN @ 8/13
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 2.25-Handicap Hurdle
Another massive field of 23 line up for what looks a wide open 20f handicap hurdle. Wee Small Hours looks an interesting contender here for in form Dermot McLoughlin. This consistent sort shaped really well on his return from a break last time. He travelled like the winner for a long way and only gave way late on at Navan over 22f.
That spin should have put him spot on for this and his jockey takes off a handy 7lb. He has won on good so the ground should not be an issue. The drop back in trip to 20f looks sure to suit too. Wee Small Hours remains 7lb above his last winning mark but he showed at Navan he is capable off his current rating. At odds of 12/1 he should give each way backers a good run for their money.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 2.25-WEE SMALL HOURS E/W @ 12/1 5 PLACES
Leopardstown Friday Tips: 3.00-Savills Chase (Grade 1)
The feature race of the day at Leopardstown is the 24f Grade 1 Savills Chase. Festival clues aplenty will be found here. Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth Road To Respect heads the market at 9/4. He looked better than ever on his seasonal return and he is a worthy favourite. However, at a much bigger price Coney Island has the class to make his presence felt. Eddie Harty’s charge was touted by many as a Gold Cup horse after his easy win at Ascot last season.
He had previously pushed the ill fated Our Duke all the way over this course and distance and he also beat Anibale Fly at Fairyhouse. His final two runs were bereft of confidence but he shaped well at Navan over an inadequate trip over hurdles behind Apple’s Jade on his comeback. The booking of Mark Walsh is a huge plus and if he can get Coney Island jumping he could be a huge danger to all at 25/1.
TXODDS’ LEOPARDSTOW TIP: 3.00-CONEY ISLAND E/W @ 25/1