It’s all about the Emerald Isle today with the horse racing from Leopardstown very much taking centre stage. It was all going on there yesterday with Min being disqualified from the G.1 Paddys Rewards Clubs Chase having passed the line in first whilst Mengli Khan dove through the wing at the second last in the G.1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle looking the winner for sure only for Real Steel and Sharjah to both hit the deck at the last leaving Whiskey Sour to win the race he had looked well beaten in.
The Gordon Elliott trained Apple's Jade, so impressive in the G.1 Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse last time, is set to step up to three miles for the first time in her career in the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown due off at 1.20; this looks a good opportunity for the five-year-old. Nichols Canyon is obviously decent but he couldn’t live with the filly over 2m4f at Fairyhouse in the Hatton's Grace and from everything I have seen of the filly there is no reason to think three-miles will prove that difficult especially here on this flat, galloping track. For me I think that is the only concern and provided the fuel tank doesn’t suddenly hit empty halfway up the three-furlong run-in she should take this and I have the Evens about her doing so. The question after this will be whether to defend her crown in the Mares Hurdle or take a tilt at the Stayers come March?
The Grade One Leopardstown Christmas Chase (Lexus Chase) at 3.00 is a good race. Gold Cup winner Sizing John takes the next step towards defending his crown at the Festival in March having won his seasonal debut the G.1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase comfortably. Djakadam, seven lengths back in second that day, re-opposes. The intriguing runner on the card is Yorkhill making his seasonal reappearance taking a step-up in trip. The seven-year-old won his first three starts over fences last season, completing his hat-trick with a second successive victory at the Cheltenham Festival in the JLT Novices' Chase (2m4f) in March. It will be fascinating to see how the chestnut goes over the trip. Giggingstown have five of the twelve runners and J P McManus three but unusually they are basically the supporting acts. The reigning Gold Cup champ is well proven over trip and on underfoot conditions plus is match fit following the John Durkan and is slightly favoured to the Mullins horse on that basis. I have the 6-4 and I am really looking forward to this one; make sure you are in front of the TV at 3.00.