By Luke Keena (@lukekeena1)
Futurum Regem apart, yesterday was a below average day, but we move onto the final day of action for the Christmas festivals at Leopardstown and Limerick.
The first of my six selections on day runs in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase at Leopardstown off at 12:00. Averne is falling to a tempting mark for the Cromwell team, but I think the stablemate, Shes Some Doll could be thrown in on handicap debut. She was last seen making the breakthrough over fences at Tramore winning over todays trip very impressively, beating subsequent winner Earths Furies who won off a mark of 97 at Limerick. Shes Some Doll runs of a mark of 98 which I think is very generous. Though she is a novice, she does not lack for experience over fences having had the three runs before making the breakthrough last time out. I think she will take a bit of beating with Brien Kane in the saddle at a price of 13/2.
The first selections at Limerick comes in the opening race and is Wishmoor for the Johnny Levins team. While his recent form is far from inspiring, he will love the return to Limerick and the heavy ground. He was a cosy winner of this race twelve months ago off a five-pound lower mark when going off 11/4 joint favourite. Heavy ground seems to be the key to him, and he will get that if Limerick passes the inspection in the morning. If he can recapture lasts years form his price of 16/1 will seem very generous.
The Advent Surety Irish EBF Mares Hurdle looks to be a cracker on paper with Shewearsitwell making her seasonal debut after being very impressive when last seen at Tipperary, but I am going to take her in with Heaven Help Us. She was far from disgraced in graded company last time out in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham against the geldings over two miles. She was a very impressive winner of the Coral Cup at the festival last year and returns to a similar trip here after her runs over shorter trips this year. She is getting weight off her main market rivals, and I think she could take some pegging back with King George winning jockey Danny Mullins in the saddle at a price of 6/1.
While it may appear there is no super star in the Neville Hotel Novice Chase it is a very intriguing event. The winner will have to do something special to match Galopin De Champs breath-taking performance on day three. Run Wild Fred could go and bolt up like he did in the Troytown but at the prices I will be leaving him alone. I am going to give Fury Road another chance. He was called a few names after his last run when appearing to stop once hitting the front at the back of the last in the Drinmore. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The trip was always going to be on the sharp side for him over the two and a half miles around Fairyhouse on quick ground. That being said, he jumped and travelled very well. The step up in trip and application of the cheekpieces should only help and I think he is worth taking a chance on at 15/2.
My penultimate selection runs in the Greenmount Equine Hospital Rated Novice Hurdle over two miles off at 2:05. I will be siding with the Philip Fenton trained runner, Lake Chad. He returned this year after two and a half years off the track to finish a close third at Clonmel in October. Next time out over course and distance he won as easy as he liked on heavy ground. He then ran twice more within four days of that win and was not disgraced either time, but I think they were too soon after the win. He has been off for over a month now and come into the race after a nice gap since last seen. He comes into the race eleven pounds higher than winning over course and distance, but I do not think that will stop him. Mikey Hamil gets on well with him and rides again claiming three pounds. If he turns up in the same form he was in last month he will go very close at 14/1.
My final selection come at Leopardstown in the penultimate race and is the Roger McGrath trained mare, Sweet Street. I would easily put a line through her last run when being well bet at Cork off the back of a career best run at Fairyhouse a week previous. She was beaten three lengths by the improving Chemical Energy on good ground. She was an eye catcher in a maiden hurdle over course and distance back in March when bet by the talented Royal Illusion. There is a slight question mark over the trip being on the sharp side for her, but I think if she can be handy early on, the slower ground should bring her stamina into it late on. I do not think a mark of 116 is the cap of her ability and think she will outrun her odds of 33/1.