Leopardstown Christmas Festival tips – Race-by-race picks for every race on day two of the Irish feature festival

Brian Healy takes a race-by-race look at the second day racecard for the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and gives his selections in every race.

Day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival goes to post on Friday, and another top-class seven-race card features further Grade One action as well as competitive handicap action on another unmissable afternoon at the premier Irish venue.

12:05 – Paddy Power “Only 364 Days Till Christmas” 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle (3yo) 2m
12:35 – Paddy Power “Live Stream All Irish Racing On Our App” Beginners Chase (4yo+) 2m1f
1:10 – Paddy’s Rewards Club “Loyalty’s Dead, Live For Rewards” Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f
1:45 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m
2:20 – Paddy Power Games “Don’t Think You’re Special” Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m
2:55 – Paddy Power Chase (Extended Handicap Chase) (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m
3:30 – Paddy Power Games “One For The Road” INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m4f

Brian Healy takes a race-by-race look at the second day racecard which promises to be an exvellent afternoon, and he gives his selections for all seven races going to post.

12:05 – Paddy Power “Only 364 Days Till Christmas” 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle (3yo) 2m

SAINT D’OUROUX (11/4, Paddy Power) has shaped well on both starts over hurdles where the Saint Des Saints gelding has clashed with some useful opposition, and Gordon Elliott’s charge can find some improvement to get off the mark.

Placed in a hurdle in France for Guillame Macaire, he has finished fourth on both his starts this term, latterly finishing around nine lengths behind the potentially smart Cerberus and A Wave Of The Sea at Fairyhouse at the beginning of the month when contesting a Grade Three contest.

That is solid form, and he ought to appreciate an easier assignment back in maiden company where he ought to make his presence felt. Open to improvement, he can give a good account, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him in the mix at the business end, and he can show himself to be a very useful prospect.

12:05 – Paddy Power “Only 364 Days Till Christmas” 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle (3yo) 2m

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SAINT D’OUROUX 11 /4
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12:35 – Paddy Power “Live Stream All Irish Racing On Our App” Beginners Chase (4yo+) 2m1f

MELON (11/10, Coral) bumped into Fakir D’oudairies on his chase debut at Navan last month, but Willie Mullins’ charge ought to prove a tough nut to crack now with that outing under his belt.

The high-class hurdler lost no caste in defeat that day, beaten only around three lengths having perhaps needed the run, and the form certainly looks a lot stronger with that winner adding a Grade One to his tally next time.

He ought to be sharper now with that outing under his belt, and the Medicean gelding could get off the mark over fences now at the second attempt and end his losing streak stretching back two years since his last win in the 2017 WKD Hurdle.

While City Island is an interesting runner making his chase debut, the 2019 Ballymore Hurdle winner might just need this return, and Willie Mullins’ charge can come out on top here with the advantage of a previous run, and he can build on what was a promising chase debut to take the spoils here.

12:35 – Paddy Power “Live Stream All Irish Racing On Our App” Beginners Chase (4yo+) 2m1f

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MELON 11 /10
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Melon can get back to winning ways on day two of Leopardstown.

1:10 – Paddy’s Rewards Club “Loyalty’s Dead, Live For Rewards” Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f

Simply Ned loves his visits to Leopardstown, and Nicky Richards’ charge took this race twelve months ago; but he might have to relinquish his crown here and CHACUN POUR SOI (2/5, Coral) looked a top-class chase prospect last term, winning both starts for Willie Mullins following his move from France.

The Policy Maker gelding returned from almost three years off the track to impressively score at Naas in March, and he followed up that success by lowering the colours of Defi Du Seuil in the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase during the Punchestown Festival where he appeared to win a shade readily despite not always being foot perfect at his obstacles.

He struck by around four lengths that day, and while he hasn’t been seen out since, he has shown he goes well fresh so a lack of a run shouldn’t present too much of an issue given his top connections.

The form of that Punchestown win has worked out really well with the runner-up winning his next two outings which includes the Tingle Creek Chase, and Willie Mullins’ charge is likely to take plenty of beating here if fully wound up and handling the softer ground here.

1:10 – Paddy’s Rewards Club “Loyalty’s Dead, Live For Rewards” Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m1f

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CHACUN POUR SOI 2 /5
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1:45 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m

ABACADABRAS (4/7, Coral) lost no caste in defeat when beaten just over one length behind Envoi Allen in the recent Royal Bond Hurdle, and Gordon Elliott’s charge can quickly bounce back to winning ways here.

The Davidoff gelding boasted solid form in bumpers last term, including twice making the frame in Grade One contests, and he made a winning start to his hurdling career when impressively scoring at Gowran Park in October where he beat Poseidon by five lengths.

That success was followed up by another win, this time at Navan where he took the step up to Grade Three company in his stride, and there was a lot to like about his run last time despite meeting with defeat having travelled strongly throughout the race but just unable to best his stablemate.

Likely to have more still to offer, he ought to play a leading role here where a repeat of that last run could prove good enough to see him get back on the scoresheet.

1:45 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m

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ABACADABRAS 4 /7
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Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott can get amongst the winners on day two of Leopardstown.

2:20 – Paddy Power Games “Don’t Think You’re Special” Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m

BEN DUNDEE (12/1, Coral) hasn’t always convinced as a chaser, often making mistakes, but that didn’t stop him winning over the larger obstacles at Punchestown last November, and he showed he could mix it at a good level when finishing third in the Close Brothers’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

That performance was followed by another solid run at Punchestown where he finished fourth to O O Seven, and he shaped well on his reappearance at Navan earlier in the month where only Minella Times proved too strong by three-parts of a length.

Gordon Elliott’s charge returns to hurdling here where he looks very well handicapped off just 130 given that his last chase start came from a mark of 138, and if he is able to reproduce his recent chase form back over timber then every chance he can go close in a hugely competitive contest.

2:20 – Paddy Power Games “Don’t Think You’re Special” Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m

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BEN DUNDEE 12 /1
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2:55 – Paddy Power Chase (Extended Handicap Chase) (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m

FITZHENRY (16/1, Unibet) is the choice of Barry Geraghty from the JP McManus-owned contingent in the race, and Paul Nolan’s charge could be the answer to a very tricky puzzle having run well on both starts back this term.

The Flemensfirth gelding scored his last success at Naas back in February last year, but he has run some solid races in defeat and finished a very creditable third in this race twelve months ago behind Auvergnat before posting a fine fourth to Dounikos in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown.

He didn’t get a start in the Fairyhouse feature, but he ran well back at Punchestown on his final outing of the season, and he built on a promising return spin over hurdles to find only Chris’s Dream too strong in the recent Troytown Chase at Navan.

His last-fence mistake made little difference as he already looked held, and he perhaps was still just lacking in sharpness having travelled well into the contest. He is only 3lbs higher for this latest outing, and likely to be even sharper now with another run under his belt then he can make his presence felt once more and no surprise to see him firmly in the mix.

2:55 – Paddy Power Chase (Extended Handicap Chase) (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m

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FITZHENRY 16 /1
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Barry Geraghty can ride a winner at Leopardstown.

3:30 – Paddy Power Games “One For The Road” INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m4f

RAGNAR LODBROK (8/11, Unibet) was doing his best work at the finish when crossing the line in third behind Eric Bloodaxe at Fairyhouse at the beginning of December, and Gordon Elliott’s charge could prove a tough nut to crack on his second outing if building on that experience.

The Fame And Glory gelding was beaten around eight lengths, keeping on well, and this step up in trip ought to suit having looked outpaced before keeping on late. The winner and runner-up both looked useful, so there perhaps wasn’t much lost in defeat, and he can step up here with that run under his belt.

The form of that run is arguably stronger than that of likely chief rival Appreciate It from Willie Mullins’’ yard, but the longer trip looks in favor of Gordon Elliott’s charge and he gets the vote to come out on top here.

3:30 – Paddy Power Games “One For The Road” INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m4f

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RAGNAR LODBROK 8 /11
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LEOPARDSTOWN CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL TIPS – DAY TWO SELECTIONS

12:05 – SAINT D’OUROUX (11/4, Paddy Power)
12:35 – MELON (11/10, Coral)
1:10 – CHACUN POUR SOI (2/5, Coral)
1:45 – ABACADABRAS (4/7, Coral)
2:20 – BEN DUNDEE (12/1, Coral)
2:55 – FITZHENRY (16/1, Unibet)
3:30 – RAGNAR LODBROK (8/11, Unibet)

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