Leopardstown Christmas Festival Day 3 Tips

Abacadabras stepped up to three miles is a tantalising prospect and he features in our preview...
Abacadabras stepped up to three miles is a tantalising prospect and he features in our preview...

The high-class action keeps on coming at Leopardstown and we have got Billy Grimshaw to stick his nose in the form book to pick out his best bets for Day Three of the track’s Christmas Festival…


Leopardstown 1:10 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle

Punting in Pertemps Qualifiers (particularly those taking place in Ireland) is certainly not for the fainthearted, with the best horses in the race often foregoing the prize on the day for a coveted sixth spot and a lower racing weight for the finale in March at the Cheltenham Festival. However, there is a runner in today’s contest priced too temptingly to ignore.

Forgiving a poor run is often essential when assessing races, but the trait of forgiveness is easier to bestow upon those with connections as legendary as Willie Mullins. He is mob-handed in this race but the one worth focusing on is a beaten second favourite last time out, DARK VOYAGER. Sent off 85/40 to win a two mile novice hurdle at Naas, he found everything happening too quickly for him and ended up finding little for pressure before finishing a disappointing fourth, some 22 lengths behind runaway winner Saint Felicien. Significantly upped in trip today to 3 miles, he has often given the impression he is a horse that will relish more of a test in stamina and today’s contest could be perfect to see him to best effect.

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier)
Dark Voyager silk

Dark Voyager (EW)

Pulled Up

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Leopardstown 1:45 Dornan Engineering Christmas Hurdle (Grade One)

This race looks an absolute corker and there are a host in here with leading chances. Klassical Dream, for all his fragilities and quirks, has to be respected after his dominant Punchestown win back in April of this year when backed like defeat was out of the question. He heads the market ahead of reigning Staying Hurdler Flooring Porter, who is on something of a retrieval mission after falling last time out. Another looking to make amends is Ronald Pump, who was well fancied when attempting a raid at Ascot last weekend but was beaten out of sight by Champ.

Sire Du Berlias and Saldier are also not to be discounted, but the one that makes most appeal particularly each way is ABACADABRAS. He ran a fine race behind Shishkin in the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and was many people’s idea of the 2021 Champion Hurdler following that performance and his stylish manner of travelling. However, he never quite hit the heights in open company over two miles, often flattering to deceive with his strong travelling style before failing to find a winning effort for pressure. The plan has been to up him in trip this season to three miles by trainer Gordon Elliot following a convincing win at Aintree back in April over the intermediate trip showed his stamina. Abacadabras made his seasonal reappearance in slightly disappointing style behind the superstar that is Honeysuckle over 2 miles and that should now be the last time we see the grey over the minimum distance. His performance in the Hatton’s Grace, again behind Honeysuckle, was much more like it and the additional distance offered in today’s race should bring out the very best of this undoubtedly talented individual and I cannot see him finishing outside of the places. He has needed a test of stamina to make the most use of his cruising speed and with victory or a creditable placed effort, he could catapult himself to the head of the Stayers’ Hurdle market for 2022.

Doran Engineering Christmas Hurdle (Grade One)
Abacadabras silk

Abacadabras (EW)


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Stayers Hurdle Odds
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