1pt win Cubomania @11/2, 1pt win Grand Partner @9/1, 14:55 Wednesday, Leopardstown

A high quality card on the opening day of the Leopardstown Christmas festival. There is a competitive looking feel across the card, from the two opening maiden hurdles to the bumper, which are either side of the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice chase, which is set up for a mouth-watering battle between Mengli Khan, Voix Du Reve and Le Richebourg in a race that so often provides pointers towards the Arkle winner.

It looks like a day for combination doubles and trebles, other than the 14:55, where there appears to be some value in the prices for this 12-runner affair.

That is probably a reflection of the competitiveness of this handicap chase.

But if there is a standout class horse in the field then it must be CUBOMANIA, who has looked a highly promising and progressive novice chaser and has done more in his short chasing career than anything else in this.

Cubomania looked set to run a big race in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase in Fairyhouse earlier this month, before falling two out. That race was won by Delta Work, with Le Richebourg not far back in second, and both of those horses should be comfortably rated in the 150’s.

A mark of 137 could remain extremely lenient for Cubomania and he should appreciate this significant drop in class on ground that will suit.

The slight negative is the trip of 2m 1f, which could arguably be a little on the sharp side. However, Cubomania has shown his versatility with back-to-back two-mile hurdle wins last season and a victory on the flat at Ayr over 1m 5f earlier in the campaign and his class should help see him through in this.

If Cubomania does falter, then it might also be worth backing GRAND PARTNER, who could be well-in on just his ninth start over fences. The ten-year-old Tom Mullins inmate is fairly exposed over timber, but has been running really well in some extremely competitive handicap chases of late including last time out when finishing 4/24 in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan last month.

He is yet to taste success as a chaser, but this will be his first start over the larger obstacles at his favourite track, where he has claimed four of his five career successes to date. His current chasing mark of 125 is 5lbs below his best winning mark over hurdles and 11lbs below his highest hurdles mark, which he raced off when going down in a Grade 3 contest at Aintree last season.

The booking of David Mullins is an eye-catcher and the ground should hold no concerns for Grand Partner either as he looks set to run a huge race on St. Stephen’s Day.

1pt win Cubomania @11/2, 14:55 Wednesday, Leopardstown (bet365)
1pt win Grand Partner @9/1, 14:55 Wednesday, Leopardstown (bet365)

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