Timeform Irish SmartPlays: Friday 27 December

Melon and Buveir d'Air fight out the finish in the Champion Hurdle
Melon can get off the mark over fences

Timeform pick out the three best bets at Leopardstown on Friday...

"...he can put his experience and speed to good use against chasing debutant City Island..."

Timeform on Melon

Melon - 12:35 Leopardstown

Melon proved to be very smart over hurdles - he finished second in the 2017 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and was twice runner-up in the Champion Hurdle - and he made an encouraging debut over fences at Navan last month, despite failing to justify odds-on favouritism. He settled better than usual and jumped fine, but was simply unlucky to bump into Fakir d'Oudairies, a four-year-old who has taken exceptionally well to chasing and made the most of an 8 lb weight-for-age allowance. Melon can put his experience and speed to good use against chasing debutant City Island and get off the mark in this sphere.

The Moyglass Flyer - 14:20 Leopardstown

The Moyglass Flyer has raced only twice but has shown plenty of ability, winning on debut at Thurles in promising style before finishing third at Navan last month on his handicap debut and return from a year off. He travelled best at Navan, leaving the firm impression he's up to defying this sort of mark, and, with further improvement to come, he looks sure to go well.

No Comment - 14:55 Leopardstown

No Comment has yet to win over fences but looks well handicapped and is up to winning a valuable prize like this. He has been set some stiff tasks over fences - two of his first four starts were in ultra-competitive handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival - but has shown aptitude and is well treated on the form of his third on reappearance at Hereford last month. He was unable to build on that encouraging effort at Newbury last time, but the drop in trip to two miles provided an inadequate test and he should be seen in a much better light here. We have yet to see everything he has to offer as a chaser.

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