What a day of racing action. I’m at Kempton Park for three rides including Faugheen and Vautour in the Grade Ones but there’s plenty from the Willie Mullins’ stable in action at Leopardstown and there’s some with some big chances.
I start with Open Eagle at Kempton who has improved a lot from his maiden hurdle win at Fairyhouse – but he’ll need to against the likes of Altior and Paul Nicholls’ Marracudja and even their second string Simop Squirrel.
But I’d be hopeful he can give a really good account of himself in this better company.
Gigginstown’s Net D’Eccose takes a big step up in class after winning at Punchestown the last day. He looked like he was going to win well but then had to really battle after the last to get home.
There’ll be no margin for error against the likes of Native River, Southfield Royal and Tea for Two who I thought was spectacular at Exeter. He’s going to be really hard to beat here.
I can’t say much more about reigning champion hurdler Faugheen. He won here last year and while the opposition are decent horses – he should get the job done.
The King George VI Chase is a cracking race and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time with Vautour. I think he’ll stay, that Kempton will suit him and fingers crossed it all goes wellnow
He may be the unproven against the proven but I think the three horses coming here for the first time in Don Cossack, Smad Place and Vautour will have too much for the older brigade.
Leopardstown, Saturday, December 26
A small but select field at Leopardstown but it won’t be easy for Douvan. I think he’s a really good horse who’ll have too much guns for these and it will be a really good race to watch.
Testing ground will inconvenience him as he’s a really good mover but it is what it is and he’s going to have to go and do it.
I’d forgive Beau Mome his last run as there was something amiss. I’m not sure exactly what was wrong but he’s a better horse than he showed in defeat at Punchestown and if he wasn’t beaten there he’d probably be a shorter price today. Hopefully he’ll show his true colours at Leopardstown.
Rashaan sets the standard and there’s a lot of chat for Gordon Elliot’s Campeador.
But Apple Jade’s has a good each-way shout at the prices to be in the first three. Her form at Vichy has worked out well and is comparable to stablemate Footpad and Campeador’s. She gets the 7lb fillies allowance from those rivals but is a much bigger price. Could be a value play in a competitive and tricky contest.
A Toi Phil reappears quickly after getting carried out at the start at Clonmel earlier in the week. This is a much tougher contest but he works well and he’s still the one to beat in my eyes.
Although Bacardys won a point-point in testing ground, he works like he would be suited by better ground but he isn’t going to get that today.
That’s a concern but he’s been showing all the right signs at home so hopefully he can cope with it as well as he did in his point-to-point days.