We managed to get a late Christmas yesterday as we had three winners in Down Royal and Limerick. Today we go in search of more winners at Leopardstown and Limerick as their respective Christmas festivals continue.
Firstly we will have a look at our Leopardstown runners, where we have 16 of them and one reserve. The majority of these runners come in the first race, the Paddy Power 3YO Maiden Hurdle where we have five runners. INSANE BOLT is the first of the draft and will be facing hurdles for the first time. He has schooled well at home but we wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve after this run, Denis O’ Regan rides. IRISH ART is a similar story and will have Brian Hayes up. Again continuing the theme is METAL MAN who should improve for the career change, Jody McGarvey is in the saddle. SAINT D’OROUX paints a slightly different picture as he does have experience of hurdles. He’ll need to show that he’s improved from his last run to do well in this. Jack Kennedy will ride him. Lastly is TRONADOR who is like the rest in so much as never running over hurdles. He has schooled very well at home but fitness might be an issue. Kevin Brogan will ride him and take off 7lbs. We also have the third reserve Garrison Commander, who probably won’t get in.
Slightly less to talk about in the next race as we have just the one runner, CHOSEN MATE in a beginners chase. It’s time for this horse to try something else. He was a point to point winner earlier in his career so fences shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Jack Kennedy is in the saddle.
It’s the same again as we move onto the first Grade 1 of the afternoon where HARDLINE takes on some very classy horses. This horse ran his heart out in the John Durkin and showed he’s still got it. He might find this harder as it looks set to be a great renewal. Jack Kennedy is on board.
Another Grade 1 follows suit and it looks like it might be ABACADABRAS’s chance to shine. He ran a huge race in the Royal Bond last time. Blue Sari is the obvious danger in this but we’d hope Abracadabras has his measure. Jack Kennedy will ride. Easywork has gone from strength to strength so far this year and won again yesterday. Keith has been booked to ride.
A slight intermission from Graded company leads us to the Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle where we have 2 runners in the 26 runner field. THATSY will have to show his bravery in order to weave his way through the field. He is a good jumper and was a winner last month, he is the choice of Jack Kennedy. BEN DUNDEE ran a great race last time out to finish 2nd in a competitive handicap over fences. He has the same problem in that he needs to survive the field to have a chance at the finish. Keith Donoghue will ride.
Normal service resumes as we return to Graded company, in the Grade B Chase, where we have 4 runners. MONBEG NOTORIOUS might find this a bit on the short side but we’d be hoping for a good run from him. He will be ridden by Keith. GENERAL PRINCIPAL is a former Irish Grand National winner and showed that class last time before very quickly weakening. Lisa O’Neill will be his company for the race. ROARING BULL needs to find more cover this time around if he is to be in with a chance, he is the choice of Jack Kennedy. Finally for this race we have GUN DIGGER, who will have 7lbs taken off his back by Kevin Brogan.
Finally, to cap off a very busy day at Leopardstown, we have RAGNAR LODBROK in the bumper. This horse ran a very good race last time behind Eric Bloodaxe and Ferny Hollow. We’d be hopefully he could put in a similar performance here again. Lisa O’Neill will ride.
Moving on to Limerick where we have a much smaller lorry heading down, laden with 6 runners. The first of which is RIGHTDOWNTHEMIDDLE in the Veterans Handicap Chase. The switch to Veteran may hopefully suit this horse but the testing Limerick ground might pose the difficult question. Davy Russell will ride.
Next up we have a Hunter Chase, where our first reserve JUST A BOY gets a run. He is another that might struggle on this ground. He will be partnered by Hugh McOwan who will take 7lbs off his back.
Its a Grade 2 next, the Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Novice Hurdle. FURY ROAD hopes to join a nice group of horses here at Cullentra as a classy Novice hurdler. He won a Graded race well last time and has plenty of stamina. He’ll be joined by FEROCIOUS who helped us complete a treble at Tramore last time out, when he turned over a hot favourite. Jamie Codd will ride.
Finally we have the bumper, where we have GETABAY and MR LINGO. Getabay ran a nice race in Navan last time and has come on for it at home. He is the choice of Jamie Codd. Mr Lingo was a good point winner a few years ago and he has been difficult to get to the track. Paddy Vaughan will be on board but there should be huge improvement from this horse from this run.
We wish all our horses and riders the very best of luck and for a safe return. We also like to extend our thanks to our staff who have been working so hard over the Christmas period.