It's day three of Christmas racing at Leopardstown and Limerick and Tony Keenan has three horses to back across the two tracks...
"Given he hadn’t run since the previous October, significant improvement can be expected and the form has worked out well; Meri Devie herself showed up well while the winner Early Doors was since placed in the Royal Bond and the third Delta Work made the frame behind Samcro."
Yesterday was one of those crazy racing days that you couldn't script without extreme hallucinogens. Firstly Min got thrown out after being first past the post in the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase with victory awarded to the 10-year-old Simply Ned who had won just once since October 2014.
Further chaos was to come in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle as favourite Mengli Khan ran out at the second last leaving the duelling Willie Mullins pair Sharjah and Real Steel to fall at the final hurdle with Whiskey Sour there to pick up the pieces. The name of the subsequent winner was Trainwreck which seemed apt for the day that was in it!
Leopardstown 12:50 - Isleofhopendreams can make amends for last year
There didn't seem to be any excuses for Glenloe and Mon Lino behind Red Devil Lads last time and if anything the winner is worth marking up as he forced an overly strong gallop. The concern with him is not so much the seven pounds rise in the handicap but the likely competition for the lead with horses like Runyon Rattler, Asbury Boss, Mighty Stowaway and Mount Hanover tending to go forward.
A strong pace could set things up for a hold-up horse and there is a case that Isleofhopendreams is the best-treated runner anyway. Despite being rising 11, he remains lightly raced and was an unlucky loser in this race last year when meeting trouble but it is his subsequent win at Punchestown that suggests 131 could be lenient. Again he was better than the bare form having had to pick his way through off a slow pace and the form proved strong; the second Sutton Manor is now rated 18lbs higher while both Presenting Percy and Glenloe were in behind. The lack of a recent run is not a major concern as he has twice won impressively off a break since arriving to this yard.
Limerick 14:10 - Duca De Thaix to reverse Naas form
Meri Devie is the obvious one after a slightly unlucky second (hampered three out) at Fairyhouse last time but she is an infrequent winner and Duca De Thaix should be closer to her in the betting judging on their Naas run last month. The Gigginstown horse shaped particularly well that day, travelling smoothly into contention two out and hitting a low of [1.35] in-running, before his big move off a slow pace and/or lack of a recent outing took its toll.
Given he hadn't run since the previous October, significant improvement can be expected and the form has worked out well; Meri Devie herself showed up well while the winner Early Doors was since placed in the Royal Bond and the third Delta Work made the frame behind Samcro. Reading the trainer tea leaves is an inexact science but Gordon Elliott has sounded positive on this one and he looks the best bet of the day.
Leopardstown 15:00 - Djakadam a solid place bet
I made the case for backing Sizing John here last week and nothing has really changed but his price, shortening from the advised [3.25] into [2.3] which makes sense as he's on an unbeaten run of five and returned seemingly better than ever. The market has swung away from Djakadam in that time which could be an overreaction and he is worth adding as a place bet.
Willie Mullins made it clear that Djakadam was not as forward for the John Durkan as he had been in previous years and in the circumstances his second place run was decent. While he certainly doesn't have the scope of Sizing John, the pair are closely matched on a few of pieces of form and his best is better than any of the rest at this point. Yorkhill could be the weak link here at the prices; his raw talent is immense but he can do crazy things like at Aintree and Fairyhouse in the last two springs and he also lacks the run so it could be worth seeking out some without the favourite markets too.
2017 P+L: -4.8 points
1 Point Back Isleofhopendreams @ [13.0] or bigger in the Leopardstown 12:50
1.5 Point Back Duca De Thaix @ [6.0] or bigger in the Limerick 14:10
1 Point Place Back Djakadam @ [2.46] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:00