Racing over the festive period gets underway on Thursday with three race meeting in Ireland. Laurina and Fakir D’oudairies clash in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Twenty minutes later at Limerick Samcro and Faugheen will lock horns in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase over two and a half miles.
Racing Post Novice Chase (Leopardstown 2:20)
Fakir D’oudairies has taken to fences very impresively this season. He built on his Juvenile Hurdle form and surpassed it to date. He was last seen winning the Drinmore at Fairyhouse. He put in a perfect round of jumping and won by twenty two lengths after Samcro came down two out.
Laurina was also an impressive winner last time out at Gowran Park. She bet Minella Indo by an effortless eight lengths. Minella Indo was a dual Grade one winner over hurdles and will be better over longer trips. Laurina was a high class hurdler and I think she will be better again over fences.
Notebook was impressive last time out at Punchestown. He bet Moon Over Germany very convincingly over two miles. He is an immaculate jumper and will enjoy conditions. He has left his hurdles form far behind him and should run a good race.
Selection – Laurina
Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase (Limerick 2:40)
Twenty minutes later at Limerick Faugheen and Samcro clash over two miles and four furlongs. Samcro was last seen at Fairyhouse in the Drinmore when he fell two from home. He was travelling very well and I thought he would have won easy. Prior to that he was flawless at Down Royal when winning by seventeen lengths. I think he is the best Novice chaser in training and will be hard to beat.
The legend Faugheen lines up here at the age of eleven. He was an impressive winner of his Beginners Chase at Punchestown. He made a very bad mistake at the eight fence and was lucky to maintain the partnership with Paul Townend. Patrick Mullins gets the leg up almost seven year after winning his bumper on him in Punchestown.
Of the others in the race Off You Go and Castlebroo, look the most appealing. Castlebrook has taken to fences very well while Off You Go hasn’t been as convincing. Off You Go came down at the last at Fairyhouse when looking like running a decent race. Castlebrook has won over fences and was a good third behind Getabird and Paloma Blue last time out. Two decent horses to look out for later on in the season but I’d be surprised if they got involved here.
Bet With Tote Maiden Hurdle (Leopardstown 12:10)
Arthurian Fame ran a nice debut over hurdles at Cork. He finished second behind Tiger Voice over two miles on soft to heavy ground. He will enjoy the slightly better ground at Leopardstown. He was a high rated horse on the flat, once rated one hundred. I think with the benefit of the run he will go close for Joseph O’Brien.
Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle (Leopardstown 12:40)
Entoucas has two promising runs this season under his belt. He was last seen finishing a close second to Thatsy at Navan a month ago. Prior to that he finished behind Envoi Allen and Front View. Both have since boosted the form. I think he will be able to build on his runs this season and get his head infront with Mark Walsh in the saddle.
Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle (Leopardstown 1:10)
A Wave Of The Sea was last seen finishing second to Cerberus at Fairyhouse giving him four pounds. His jumping let him down at times as well as giving away weight contributed to him being bet. A stiffer test of stamina that Leopardstown presents will see him to better effect. He has plenty of experience and I think it could be an opening treble for the Joseph O’Brien yard.
O’Kelly Brothers Demolition Mares Handicap Hurdle (Limerick 2:05)
Bay Ambition appeared to be travelling very well when taking a heavy fall two out at Navan last time out. Prior to that she won her Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick in October. If the fall has no effect on her I think she be be hard to beat.