“One of the best fields ever assembled in Ireland.”
It was a fantastic day at Leopardstown on the 27th, with Chacun Pour Soi the standout performer.
We preview the two Grade 1s on the 28th, the 3m hurdle and chase races, and give our two selections (Ronald Pump now a non-runner).
1.15 Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle.
Ronald Pump (now non-runner) is a horse who is a much better hurdler than he is chaser. Having won a couple of handicap hurdle pots in 2019, including at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, the Matthew J Smith horse was switched to running over fences for the 2019/20 season.
Having failed to continue on his form, he switched back to hurdles and was an unlucky second at the Stayers Hurdle in Cheltenham last year. His two runs this year have come over 2m4f and he was an impressive runner-up to Honeysuckle at Fairyhouse last time out, going down by 1/2 length.
The step up to three miles here should suit and at 7/2, he represents value up against two tough opponents in Sire Du Berlais and Fury Road.
The first horse to win back-to-back Gold Cups since Best Mate in 2004!
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 13, 2020
2.25 Leopardstown Savills Chase.
Amazingly, with Gold Cup favourite Al Boum Photo once again skipping this race for Tramore on New Year’s Day, this is still one of the best fields ever assembled in Ireland. Expect this race to be a hot contest.
Minella Indo is a worthy favourite. He was an unlucky loser at the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, having made a significant mistake at the last, and has won his two starts over fences this term. Both wins were at short odds of 8/13 and 2/11 respectively so expect this to be a much tougher test.
Not a bad season for Champ:
🏇 Four runs over fences
🥇 Three wins
🏆 RSA Chase hero
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 21, 2020
Delta Work, Presenting Percy and Kemboy all bring Gold Cup experience to the table and don’t expect much to separate those three.
A Plus Tard is a very interesting runner having only ran once over three miles. The Ryanair (2m5f) third was defeated by Castlegrace Paddy over 2m this term so this significant step up in trip should see some improvement.
Samcro and Melon bring last year’s Marsh Chase (2m4f) form to the race but both horses are trying this trip over fences for the first time.
However, the one that represents a bit of value is Allaho. A valiant third in the RSA Chase (3m), the Willie Mullins trained horse failed to sparkle on his seasonal reappearance. That performance was majorly disappointing but Mullins’ horse have come on for the run this season.
The step up to three miles again should suit. With Paul Townend on board, expect a big Leopardstown performance from Allaho at 8/1.
1.15 Ronald Pump 7/2 (now non-runner)
2.25 Allaho 8/1 (1pt EW, 1/5 4pl)