Timeform Irish SmartPlays: Sunday January 17

Leopardstown stage a high-quality jumps card on Sunday
Leopardstown stage a high-quality jumps card on Sunday

Leopardstown stage a high-quality card on Sunday, and Timeform's Irish team have picked out three good bets...

"Having shaped like the second-best horse for a long way in the latter race before finishing tired, the drop back to two miles will suit Buiseness Sivola here, whilst the fact he is the preferred choice of Ruby Walsh of the four representatives from the Willie Mullins yard suggests he’ll be raring to go after seven months off."

Danielle's Journey - Leopardstown 12.50

An eighteen-runner mares maiden hurdle wouldn't be an obvious betting heat, but Danielle's Journey has the best form courtesy of her recent second-past-the-post finish at Down Royal, and it's possible she'll go off a bigger price than her form warrants up against the likes of bumper winner Una's Pleasure and Jessica Harrington's Billy's Hope, who made an encouraging start over hurdles over this C&D on Boxing Day. A bumper winner, Danielle's Journey finished third on her hurdling debut at Sligo in May, and she stepped up appreciably on that form at Down Royal on Boxing Day (having been off for over two hundred days in between) when a clear second behind Conright Boy, for all she was later disqualified and placed last after her rider failed to weigh in. She still looked green that day, wandering when having every chance on the run-in, and she can take another step forward here with that experience under her belt.

Gallant Oscar - Leopardstown 1.50

Gallant Oscar is better known as a chaser these days but makes plenty of appeal off his lower hurdles mark in this three-mile handicap. The Tony Martin-trained gelding hasn't had all that much racing for a ten-year-old, and he started to make a name for himself over fences last term, finishing third in the staying handicap at Cheltenham prior to landing the valuable Pat Taafe Handicap at the Punchestown Festival. He's had only one run this season but looked in fine heart prior to falling two out in the valuable Paddy Power Handicap over fences at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting. Gallant Oscar looked likely to play a hand in the finish that day off a career-high mark of 148 and is of obvious interest switching back to hurdling from a mark fully 20 lb lower - he's scored three times over timber for current trainer Tony Martin, as well as finishing a good second on his last two starts over hurdles in 2014/15 before progressing further back over fences. Gallant Oscar could prove to be very leniently treated here under conditions that will suit.

Buiseness Sivola - Leopardstown 14.25

A typically wide-open renewal of this valuable handicap (formerly known as the Boylesports) in which cases can be made for several of the runners, though the best handicapped of the twenty-five who go to post could prove to be five-year-old Buiseness Sivola. Successful in a two mile Grade 3 at Fairyhouse last April - his first win over timber - Buiseness Sivola stepped up even further on his two subsequent outings, both at Grade 1 level. He found only stablemate Petite Parisienne (to whom he was conceding 7 lb) too strong in the AES Champion Four-Year-Old-Hurdle at Punchestown prior to finishing fifth in France's top race for juvenile hurdlers over nineteen furlongs at Auteuil in June. Having shaped like the second-best horse for a long way in the latter race before finishing tired, the drop back to two miles will suit Buiseness Sivola here, whilst the fact he is the preferred choice of Ruby Walsh of the four representatives from the Willie Mullins yard suggests he'll be raring to go after seven months off.

Timeform Irish SmartPlays (all at Leopardstown)
Danielle's Journey - 12.50
Gallant Oscar - 1.50
Buiseness Sivola - 14.25

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