Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Tombstone can land his Grade 1

Un De Sceaux returns today but Tony Keenan has looked elsewhere in search of his best bets
Un De Sceaux returns today but Tony Keenan has looked elsewhere in search of his best bets

It's day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and Tony Keenan has been through their top-class card to find his best bets...

"Kylecrue makes plenty of appeal in their feature, the Tim Duggan Memorial. Quite simply, he’s a two-a-half mile specialist that has been racing over further in recent starts."

1 Point Back Kylecrue @ 13.5 or bigger in the Limerick 14:10

Plenty of good racing today and I have plenty of opinions but the markets seem to agree with a few of them so I'm keeping stakes small.


Leopardstown 13:45 - Tombstone to deliver on his big reputation

The Future Champions Novice Hurdle has gone under-the-radar against other big Christmas races but it looks the hottest novice of the season thus far and should have a big impact on the Cheltenham markets.

Tombstone is a little shorter than ideal but I can't resist putting up a small bet on him; he's the most exciting Irish novice around and the competition for that position is tough with the likes of Bellshill and Min making big impressions.

His form is not as good as some of these but less obvious factors hint that he is something special. His sectional times are notably good - he finished so quickly last time that the drop in trip should be no issue - while he was ridden like a horse that wasn't getting beaten by Davy Russell in his maiden hurdle win. That form is working out too with the 21-length fourth winning off 114 yesterday.

Of the rest, I respect Petit Mouchoir in the same colours but am inclined to be against the summer form lines of Long Dog and Bachasson. Woodland Opera won with little in hand last time while Falcon Crest might find this trip too sharp; he won over a strongly-run twenty furlongs last time.


Limerick 14:10 - Kylecrue can go well over his optimum trip

Limerick got the go ahead this morning after yesterday's abandonment and Kylecrue makes plenty of appeal in their feature, the Tim Duggan Memorial. Quite simply, he's a two-a-half mile specialist that has been racing over further in recent starts. John Ryan's gelding has won four of his last five starts around 20 furlongs and beat Rogue Angel off 119 in the most recent of those; that horse won either side of that race including in the Kerry National yet he gets to compete off just two pounds higher here.

It's not as if he has been running poorly over further either; he was placed in the Cork National and second to the well-handicapped Prince Of Scars over hurdles before doing best of the front-runners in a Troytown that was run at an overly strong gallop.


Leopardstown 14:20 - Bishops can lord it back over hurdles

Alan Fleming has made a habit of improving horses he gets from other yards like Blue Hell and Velvet Maker and his Bishopslough looks to have done the same over the summer. He's only had one run for Fleming over hurdles and that was filled with promise; over a two-and-a-half mile trip that stretches him, he raced keen and wide before moving into a challenging position when he both made a mistake and met trouble.

He competes off 118 here and ran second to City Slicker and Art Of Payroll off similar marks in 2013/14; both those horses were seriously well-in at the time, hiked a cumulative 35lbs for those wins. Ancient Sands is worth a saver at double-figure prices. The ground is a concern but he won a decent race last time, coming from off the pace in a slowly-run affair and can go well.


Leopardstown 14:55 - Take Sumos Novios and Rossvoss against the field

This is a strong Paddy Power with a host of potentially well-treated ones engaged and it should pay to follow this form into the better staying handicaps in the spring. Quite a few in this field are likely being aimed at those later races and the heavy ground is a negative for others so I prefer to take two thriving, in-form sorts against the rest.

Sumos Novios beat the ante-post favourite for this race Sizing Gold with a bit in hand at Punchestown last time and the ground has come for him; he was intended for the Thyestes until it turned heavy. Unexposed and likely to improve for the trip, he should be clear favourite but can be backed at 13.012/1.

Rossvoss too comes into this in fine form, winning a handicap hurdle at Navan in facile fashion earlier in the month. His trainer has a good record in the race and while his stamina is not totally proven this is a race where horses can step up in trip and win.


Recommended Bets
1 Point Back Tombstone @ 4.216/5 or bigger in the Leopardstown 13:45
1 Point Back Kylecrue @ 13.5 or bigger in the Limerick 14:10
1 Point Place Back Kylecrue @ 3.55/2 or bigger in the Limerick 14:10
1 Point Back Bishopslough @ 7.26/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:20
0.5 Point Back Ancient Sands @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:20
0.5 Point Back Sumos Novios @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:55
0.5 Point Back Rossvoss @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Leopardstown 14:55

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