Best bets for the horseracing Friday 29th December 2023

A slightly better day on Thursday with Irish Point a very impressive winner; Gordon Elliott and Brian Acheson have an embarrassment of riches in the Staying Hurdle division it appears. The main action is once again across the Irish Sea at Leopardstown on Friday. It remains heavy on the Hurdle course and soft on the Chase track and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a non-runner or two again on the day.

Best bets for the horseracing at Leopardstown

The 2m4f Grade Three Irish EBF Mares Hurdle at 1.10 looks pretty competitive on paper but I quite like the look of one. Willie Mullins has saddled six of the last seven winners so Risk Belle has to be taken seriously. Magical Zoe heads the market though Rachael Blackmore prefers Telmesomethinggirl, I assume as stable jockey she had the choice, so read into that what you will. Jetara has won her last two starts on Heavy going and is fancied to take the step back up from Listed class to Grade Three in her stride. She was considered good enough for a tilt at the G.1 Honeysuckle Mares Novice Hurdle last season and is surely good enough to win this.  Always going well at Punchestown last time she made a mistake at the last but went clear of the field and looked to very much enjoy the conditions. I have the 9-2.

We have the 3m½f Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase at 1.45 with some interesting Novice Chasers lining-up. Flooring Porter enters calculations back on a left-handed track having hung left for most of the G.2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown last time when third behind Favori De Champdou. By far the best of these over hurdles he won well enough at Cheltenham on his Chase debut before the run in County Kildare. Favori De Champdou looked good when winning the Florida Pearl and powered away from the opposition late on to win by fourteen lengths. My worry with the Elliott trained eight-year-old is all his form is going right-handed - pulled-up in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham his one run turning left. Corbetts Cross got off the mark over the bigger obstacles earlier this month at Fairyhouse looking to have a bit up his sleeve beating Three Card Brag over 2m5½f. Steps up in trip again here, which is the question he has to answer over the bigger obstacles, will he stay? I have plumped for Flooring Porter at 11-4 to outstay them all going left-handed again. 

In the Grade One two-mile Matheson Hurdle State Man is fully expected to continue beating-up the Irish Two-milers; he is the best out there by some way. Stablemate Impaire Et Passe dropping back in trip might give him more to think about today as the ground is likely to make this a testing two-miles, but I doubt can beat him over this trip.

Be lucky