We’ve enjoyed a profitable Christmas of punting so far after La Bague Au Roi (8/1) and Elegant Escape (11/2) returned winners – and while the British action takes a break before Saturday, Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival rolls on to Friday’s card where the Savills Chase, formerly the Lexus, is the feature.
It’s a cracker with 12 runners, plenty of class, and below is an A-Z of the runners along with our selection.
Anibale Fly – 11/1
A dour stayer who plugged on for third in the Gold Cup and then placed under a big weight in the Grand National. With good ground in Ireland you’d suspect he’d be very vulnerable to something with more pace and he was only sixth on his reappearance. A very unlikely winner.
Balko Des Flos – 14/1
Second in this last year before a thumping win at the Cheltenham Festival when heavy ground was supposed to be against him. He’s never won over three miles but is only seven and should be approaching his peak as a staying chaser, though in two runs this season he’s not looked an improved horse. All-important Leopardstown form is a plus however, and he’s likely to be involved at the finish.
Bellshill – 11/2
Second favourite for this and Punchestown Gold Cup winner who likes a bit of good ground and goes well fresh. He’s never won at Leopardstown and isn’t the fastest horse, while this being his seasonal reappearance means there are plenty of reasons to believe we won’t see him at his best.
Coney Island – 22/1
Plenty to find on ratings though he’s only seven and has spent most of his career running over shorter trips. However, he’s twice placed in Grade 1s over three miles from two starts, including a narrow second to Bellshill, and has good form at Leopardstown and on a sound surface too, so there’s a lot to like about his chances here. Given a hands and heels ride over an inadequate trip against one of the best horses in training [Apple’s Jade] on his reappearance, he stayed on well to get third and should arrive cherry ripe for this.
Disko – 25/1
Another with course form, a liking for good ground and age on his side. A 400+ day absence is a big negative however and it’s anyone’s guess whether he retains that class. A big player if back to his best.
Edwulf – 33/1
Irish Gold Cup winner who was pulled up in this after defying not just a lengthy absence but the grim reaper himself to win his next start. Clearly likes the track and shouldn’t be judged harshly on his reappearance when last of five to the speedy Min over an inadequate trip. The issue has to be good ground and a fairly obvious lack of pace, which was his undoing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so it’s difficult to see him keeping up if they go a strong gallop.
Kemboy – 11/1
Well fancied for the Ladbrokes Trophy before travel disruption cost him his visit, he’s difficult to weigh up given he’s mostly raced on soft ground and is unexposed in this class. Needs to find upwards of a stone on ratings and is only the yard’s second choice behind Bellshill, so he looks underpriced at 11/1.
Monalee – 8/1
Second at the Cheltenham Festival to now Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy and a Grade 1 winner at Leopardstown, the issue is he might jump brilliantly but he doesn’t look a thorough stayer of three miles and might be more effective over shorter trips. He looks likely to make the running and won’t be far away at the finish, but he might set this up for a stronger stayer.
Outlander – 25/1
Loves Leopardstown and never seems to run well anywhere else, he does look a big price and is sure to run a big race but pushing 11 years of age I’d expect one or two to be too good at this stage of his career.
Road To Respect – 9/4
Clear favourite after looking better than ever when winning a Grade 1 on his reappearance, he’s a Cheltenham Festival winner who loves good ground and won this race last year. In other words, he ticks every box and is the right favourite.
Shattered Love – 6/1
Brilliant winner of the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival who ran well behind the speedy Min to finish a staying-on second last time out on her reappearance, this mare has been talked up as a potential Gold Cup horse and, after two starts this season, should be peaking here. Trainer Gordon Elliott thinks she wants softer ground but she won over course and distance on similar going last year and is still on the upgrade. Big chance with her mares’ allowance.
The Storyteller – 25/1
Selection: Road To Respect ticks all the boxes but looks short enough with his patchy record, and they’ve all got a job on their hands to give the improving SHATTERED LOVE 7lb. 6/1 is a good price. Coney Island should go well at a big price.
1pt win Shattered Love @6/1, 15:00 Leopardstown, FridayLeave a comment