On The Shannon (E/W if 5/1+)
The next Grade One at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is the Ryanair hurdle over two miles. It sees another renewal of the Hurricane Fly and Jezki. The latter gained his amazing Twenty Second grade one success at Fairyhouse the last time out. Conditions again should suit The Fly who will relish underfoot conditions and the small field should suit. Willie Mullins horses are running a little below par however with this likely to be the son of Montjeu last season. They will want to finish on a high. Ground conditions will not see Jezki at his best who will still be a live champion hurdle contender even with defeat. As back at Cheltenham and sounder surface will see him to best affect. Off the remainder Tiger Roll last run was too bad to be true. I really think his is better than that and 25/1 is overpriced but with only 7 runners it’s not an e/w race for me.
Hurricane Fly (WIN)
Peoples Park (WIN)
A Grade three mares hurdle is the next race. Willie Mullins has yet another favourite here in Analifet. She was promising as a juvenile but after a long lay off faile to fire last time out. While she is probably better than that at a short price she is not for me today. The selection here is Carrigmorna Rock who won a listed contest last time out at Newbury. This looks a slightly harder contest but the way he travelled and the form behind potential superstar in this sphere Morning Run should see her go close. Robert Tyner continues to have his string in fine fettle and should go close. The interesting one at a price is Fairytale Theatre with Ruby Walsh booked and Dan Skelton would not be sending her to make up the numbers. Any market support would be interesting. Mrs Mac Veale is another who is very consistent and finished second behind Forsters Cross. A step up on that should see her go close.
Carrigmorna Rock (WIN)
The final Grade One of the week is a cracking renewal of the Topaz Novice Chase. A three mile contest with seven runners and in truth a case can be made for most if not all the runners. Don Poli is the market leader and based on his hurdle progression and won on his chase debut. Trip and ground shouldn’t cause any issue at all. He takes a step up in class on his second start and appears short in the market for me on what we have seen this year. The Tullow Tank and Apache Stronghold finished fifth and second respectively in the Drinmore but step up to three miles for the first time. While it should suit maybe better ground will be needed. Very Wood now has questions to answer following his most recent run and in truth I wasn’t impressed with his chase debut which he did win but looked unnatural. Shanahans Turn beat him that day and Lots Of Memories. He should confirm this form but that looked a weak race on paper. This leaves me with Mala Beach who I am a big fan off. He was a decent hurdler who was always going to be a chaser. He made a good start behind The Tullow Tank first time out. When the trainer admitted he needed the run and then went on to win extremely easily next time. Three miles on heavy ground looks the key indicator. This horse is a smooth jumper and has that touch of class to see him come out on top.
Mala Beach (WIN)