1pt win Martello Tower @4/1, Leopardstown 13:55

We’re having a good week with Coney Island, Douvan and Ar Mad justifying big bets, along with Sire De Grugy and Open Eagle hitting the crossbar.

There’s not a lot of top-class racing in Britain today, but Leopardstown hosts the Grade 1 Lexus Chase and the three-mile Christmas Hurdle, where two Willie Mullins aces dominate the betting.

Of the former, the withdrawal of Road To Riches and absence of Gold Cup-second Djakadam – who should now head for Cheltenham’s Cotswold Chase – leaves it looking like a formality for the RSA Chase winner Don Poli, and his long-odds-on price reflects that.

The latter race is more intriguing as Champion Hurdle-second Arctic Fire steps up to three miles on heavy ground, so will have to prove his stamina against some useful stayers.

He’s odds-on too, so he might be worth taking on, though the way he’s strongly finished off his tries at two-and-a-half miles suggests he’ll get the trip, and his trainer says the ground is no issue.

The obvious alternative is Albert Bartlett-winner Martello Tower, who looked a thorough stayer at the Festival and will also have no issues with the ground.

The obvious concern, besides having 20lbs to find on official ratings with the favourite, is the lack of a run since his big win in March, however, he’s won first time out in the last two seasons so should go well.

The form of his prep race for last season’s festival has been something of a goldmine for savvy punters, with himself, Windsor Park and Killultagh Vic all going on to Festival glory, and Outlander – twice a winner this season – all finishing ahead of No More Heroes, who has gone on to Grade 1 success this year and is odds-on for a second top-level success on tomorrow’s card.

Can that gift keep on giving? At 4/1 I’m keen to chance it might.

According to the betting, best of the rest is Alpha Des Obeaux, who was so easily brushed aside by the favourite when last seen at Fairyhouse that I couldn’t possibly expect him to reverse the form, even over this more testing trip.

I’d prefer the chances of Snow Falcon, who was even further back at Fairyhouse after several jumping errors, but can at least boast a victory on soft ground at just shy of this trip, and finished a close second to subsequent Grade-1 Fighting Fifth winner Identity Thief on this card last season.

That’s useful form, and he’s a massive price at 66/1 in some places and it’s significant that he’s persisting with this grade, so must show something at home with his young age – five – suggesting improvement is likely.

I’m not sure today’s his day, though.

1pt win Martello Tower @4/1, Leopardstown 13:55

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