The Christmas festivals at Leopardstown and Limerick continue on Monday and Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott has yet more stable stars and big chances on the afternoon...
"I think this is an ideal trip for him and once there is a nice ease in the ground I'd like to think he will be thereabouts at the finish."
- Gordon Elliott on Fury Road
*Best Chance - Fury Road (13:15)
Getaway will improve plenty for this but Indigo should play leading role
Bold Getaway is a horse who has come to us from point-to-points relatively recently. He seems a grand, straight forward type and his last run in points saw him finish second to a nice horse of ours, Percy Warner, who has since won a maiden hurdle at Navan. That sort of form would suggest that he could be competitive on the track so it will be interesting to see how he gets on here but I'm expecting him to improve plenty from this run as we have gone reasonably gently with him since he came to us.
Indigo Breeze looked a nice type when he won his bumper at Thurles and I was happy with his first run over hurdles when he was just touched off by Keskonrisk at Fairyhouse. I think he will have learnt plenty from that run and this longer won't be any problem to him so all things considered I'm expecting him to play a leading role here.
Oscar should be the boss of my three runners
Cracking Smart is a smart horse at his best but he isn't the easiest to predict. He has plenty of weight here and looks to have it all to do on his last run but I know that if he turns up in the right frame of mind he could run well. Having said that you couldn't follow him with confidence on his last run so he is best watched.
Commander Of Fleet was a top class staying novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago but he then suffered a couple of injuries and it can often take these horses a while to get back to form. He was going nicely at home prior to making his return over fences at Naas last month but he jumped so badly we felt it was best to leave fences alone. On his best form he would be good enough to win this but for the time being I'd be advising people to maintain a watching brief.
The Bosses Oscar is a very decent horse and has shown up well in a couple of big handicaps already, most recently when finishing second in a good race at Navan earlier this month. I think he could be a lively contender for the Final of this series in March and if he can match any of the form he has shown over hurdles to date he shouldn't be far away.
Fury my big hope but don't rule out good runs from my other two
I'm hoping that Fury Road could make up into a Stayers Hurdle contender this season and his form with Thyme Hill from Cheltenham last March would suggest that could be a realistic ambition. He enjoyed a straight forward time of things when making a winning comeback at Punchestown last month and he has improved plenty from that but he will need to as this is a far better race. I think this is an ideal trip for him and once there is a nice ease in the ground I'd like to think he will be thereabouts at the finish.
Sire Du Berlais has done us proud for the last couple of seasons by winning two Pertemps Finals at Cheltenham. I was very pleased with his winning comeback at Navan in the Lismullen Hurdle when he would have needed the run and the trip was a little on the sharp side for him. He should relish stepping up to this trip and I think he can be competitive at Grade 1 level this season so it will be interesting to see how he gets on here.
The Storyteller is an admirable horse and a real yard favourite. He's a very versatile horse and is probably as good over hurdles as he is over fences. He won a Grade 1 over fences at Down Royal last season and that would entitle him to run in the Savills Chase later on the card but I'm keen to see how he does at this level over hurdles as the Stayers Hurdle could be an option for him later in the season. I'm expecting him to run his usual decent race and I think he's got each-way prospects.
Fantastic Savills Chase and we have three excellent chances
The Savills Chase is a brilliant race. It's probably the highlight of the Christmas period and I think it's safe to say this is one of the standout races of the season. It's a great thrill to be able to run three horses in it and I think all of them have chances.
Delta Work is in great form. He always comes on a lot for his first run of the season and he is showing me that he has progressed plenty from his comeback at Down Royal. Three miles around Leopardstown on decent ground seems to bring out the best in him as he showed when winning this race last year before going on to win the Irish Gold Cup. I couldn't be happier with him and I'm expecting a big run.
Presenting Percy ran a nice first race for us at Down Royal and he improved from that to win a decent race at Thurles in great style last month. This is a much more competitive affair but I think he has progressed again from Thurles and he's in very good form so I wouldn't like to swap him for anything in the race. I suppose this race might tell us whether he still has Gold Cup aspirations but he is showing me at home that he is still at that standard and I think this race could bring out the best in him.
It will be fascinating to see how Samcro gets on. He has come on plenty for his comeback at Down Royal and I'm keen to keep him to decent ground so the ground here should be ideal for him. The trip is a total unknown but we were always going to give him a go over three miles at some stage and this looks the ideal place to do it. As I said earlier in the week I could see him travelling best of all until the second last and we'll just see what happens after that as he is stepping into the unknown. If he stays he'll run a very big race.
Schooled well and should run better than last time
He was a nice horse over hurdles last season and I always hoped that he could make into a good chaser. I must say I was a bit disappointed with his first run over fences at Fairyhouse where he was well beaten and didn't jump well. He has schooled well at home since then and if he puts his best foot forward he should run a far better race.
Can't recommend him with confidence
He is a frustrating horse. At home he works like a very good horse but we have yet to see it on the track. After starting out over hurdles with an encouraging run at Punchestown I though he was really disappointing when he went back there a couple of weeks later. I know he is better than he has gotten to show but he's not one I could recommend with any confidence.
Has conditions in his favour
I think he could run well. He's a tough horse who stays well and he enjoys testing ground so he will have conditions in his favour. The form he showed in an auction maiden hurdle at Punchestown a few weeks ago would give him a chance of getting involved and he has an each-way shout.
Big step up in trip but we think it will suit
He's coming into this off a nice break and seems very well in himself. He did win on the flat during the summer and I'm interested to see how he gets on here as I think he wants a real test of stamina. This is his first run over hurdles for over a year and he is taking a huge jump in trip but I think this trip is what he wants so don't be surprised to see him run well.
Can run well with ground in his favour
There could be a nice handicap to be won with Elwood but his jumping is an issue. He always seems to make a bad mistake or two in his races and that has been costing him since he won his beginner's chase at Thurles just under a year ago. He probably wants a longer trip but will enjoy the ground and Gavin (Brouder) seems to get a good tune out of horses like him so I won't be surprised to see him run well.
Very competitive race for the grade
After making a reasonably encouraging return to action at Galway Diamond Turf has been quite disappointing although the Troytown was too big an ask for him last time. He seems well and he has run well at this track before so if he applies himself he could run well but he's not a horse you could rely on.
At his best Take A Turn is a reasonable hurdler and has run some solid races on the flat at Dundalk lately. He has schooled fine over fences at home so hopefully he will run a solid race but this looks a very competitive race for the grade and I could see him finding a few of these too strong.
This should be right up his street
He's a nice type of horse and is well related as a half-brother to Rathvinden. At home he has been coming along in his work and he is showing enough to suggest he will be competitive in a bumper so I think he will be capable of giving a good account of himself and he looks like a horse who will stay well so this trip should be right up his street. He should run well.