Couple of seconds on the opening day with Chief Justice and Cubomania. Moving on now to the second day of the Christmas Festival and there looks to be some wide open races.
I have five rides on the Leopardstown card.
29 runners and very little form to go on as it’s first day at school for most of the field. That certainly applies to my fella Ingenuity who has his first start for Gordon (Elliott) since joining from Jedd O’Keeffe where he won one race for him on the flat when the ground was on the quick side. From what I’ve seen so far, he’s a nice prospect but it’s just a case of seeing where we are with him after this race.
MOON OVER GERMANY (12.40pm)
We were delighted with his comeback third after a long absence in Punchestown the last day and fingers crossed there’s no bounce factor which is always in the back of your mind. He’ll need to improve too, as this looks full of good future chasing prospects including Henry’s (De Bromhead) stable companion Paloma Blue who should improve for his first spin over the fences in Navan.
CASTLEGRACE PADDY (1.15pm Paddy’s Rewards Club “Sugar Paddy” Chase Grade 1)
This looks a hell of a race and for me could easily turn out to be the race of the whole week. There’ll be no hiding places for Footpad who was a faller first time up this season in the Poplar Square Chase in Naas and his trainer Willie Mullins also runs Great Field whose winning run came to an end when he fell in the Hilly Way Chase in Cork – the race that my fella Castlegrace Paddy stayed on well to win. He seemed to have plenty left in the tank that day and can hopefully play his part in this fascinating race even though he’s up in class. There’re are so many interesting runners – Ballyoisin takes on Ordinary World again – Ballyoisin was very impressive at Navan making all to win the Fortria Chase by 23 lengths from Ordinary World.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS (2.25pm)
Won a handicap hurdle over in Sedgefield in September and then found life much tougher at Cheltenham finishing mid-field in a much more competitive event. This again looks really tough with a whole stack of dangers, not least of which stable companion Star Maker who won for me at Punchestown last time out.
Another hugely competitive handicap which is no surprise given the value of the race. I won this two years ago on Noble Endeavor so know full well how tough it is to win. I team up this time around on Borice for Gordon and am looking forward to riding him for the first time on his first start for the stable. He joined us from France where he showed plenty of decent form at Auteuil and he’s a nice prospect, but he’s very much swimming at the deep end on his Irish debut.
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