The first of the weekend’s Grade 1s is the Racing Post
Novice Chase on St Stephen's Day and the unbeaten Envoi Allen is among 13
horses remaining in the race. Gordon Elliott also lets Felix Desjy and
Conflated go forward but he is outnumbered by Willie Mullins who has five to
choose from with Asterion Forlonge, Blackbow, Energumene, Janidil and Franco De
Port sill engaged. Last year’s winning trainer Henry de Bromhead has Benruben
and Popong while Darver Star is there for Gavin Cromwell, Paul Hennessy has
Heaven Help Us and Joseph O'Brien could well rely upon Embittered.
The busy St Stephen's Day programme on Saturday begins
with the Join tote.ie With a €10 Bet Maiden Hurdle and the Gordon
Elliott-trained Indigo Breeze a likely leading contender. Elliott is also well
represented in the Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle but a most interesting
runner here would be Henry de Bromhead’s Bob Olinger.
The first of the Festival’s graded races is the Grade 2
Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle and the season’s leading three-year-olds Zanahiyr,
Quilixios and Duffle Coat, a trio from the Gordon Elliott yard, feature among
the 13 entries.
The Barry Connell-trained Big King, the Eoin
McCarthy-trained Mattie’s Mountain and Sadies Trix, from the Peter Fahey yard,
are among the 49 entries for the Holden Plant Rentals Novice Handicap Hurdle.
Holden Plant Rentals are also backing the day’s bumper which has attracted 32
horses, including a number of unraced horses from the country’s leading
stables. Noel Meade’s Harry Alonzo and Gordon Elliott’s Top Bandit were both
runners-up on their respective racecourse debuts.
Henry de Bromhead looks to have a strong contingent in
the Bet Through The Racing Post App Handicap Chase with Epson Du Houx, Popong
and Raya Time among his entry of eight. Tom Mullins’ Grand Partner and the
Edward Cawley-trained Golden Jewel are other intriguing entries for the race.
The second day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is
Paddy Power Chase Day and there are 11 horses, including Chacun Pour Soi and
Min, going forward for the for the first of the afternoon’s Grade 1 races, the
Paddy's Rewards Club Chase. They feature in a four-strong entry for Willie
Mullins and heading the opposition is the Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus
Tard, winner of the race a year ago. The County Waterford trainer has also left
in Notebook and Put The Kettle On while Pat Fahy’s Castlegrace Paddy, the
Gordon Elliott-trained Samcro, John Queally’s Djingle and the Joseph
O'Brien-trained Le Richebourg complete the line-up.
Eighteen horses have stood their ground for the Grade 1
Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle with Ballyadam, Call Me Lyreen and
Eskylane contenders for the Gordon Elliott yard. Willie Mullins is represented
by seven horses, including Appreciate It and N’golo while Noel Meade could yet
run both Cask Mate and Jesse Evans. Henry de Bromhead has left in Irascible and
Joseph O'Brien has both Keskonrisk and Fire Attack.
A total of 62 horses have been left in the Paddy Power
Chase including early market leaders Ontheropes and Castlebawn West from the
Willie Mullins yard, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Lock’s Corner, Henry de Bromhead’s
Minella Times, Dermot McLoughlin’s Captain Cj and the Joseph O'Brien-trained
Home By The Lee. Last year’s last-gasp winner Roaring Bull, trained by Gordon
Elliott, also remains among the entries.
Sunday’s card begins with the Paddy Power Three-Year-Old
Maiden Hurdle for which 36 horses have been entered, including the Joseph
O'Brien-trained Palm Beach. Klassical Dream, trained by Willie Mullins, is
among the 15 entered for the Paddy Power Games Beginners Chase.
Martin Brassil’s You Raised Me Up looks an interesting
contender in the Paddy Power Maybe I Like Misery Handicap Hurdle for which 43
entries have been received with and all the big stables are represented in the
‘Paddy Power Flat One’ INH Flat Race with the likes of Noel Meade’s Killer Mode
and the Willie Mullins-trained Reality Cheque featuring among the 24 early