The second day of Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting has the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (13:10) as its highlight, but the field is disappointingly small, with Chacun Pour Soi and Envoi Allen dominating the betting.
It’s impossible to knock anything that the former has done in Ireland, having been beaten only once there from eight starts, though his aura of invincibility has dropped a little on the two starts he’s had in Britain, though that’s not a concern here.
Maybe he’s a poor traveller, or perhaps he just doesn’t care for stiff tracks such as Cheltenham or Sandown, though he was reported to have returned sore from his poor effort in the Tingle Creek last time, which is at least something of an excuse for that effort.
Anyway, he’ll clearly take all the beating back in his native land if over whatever was ailing him last time, though he makes little punting appeal at odds-on, for all that the opposition looks thin here, to say the least.
Envoi Allen clearly has a few questions to answer himself following his sixth to Allaho in the John Durkan at Punchestown last time.
Strictly in ratings terms, that effort wasn’t too bad when you take into account his prior performances, though was clearly some way below what was expected from a horse who has built a massive reputation over the last couple of seasons.
Envoi Allen currently has an official rating of 161, and perhaps that’s as good as he is.
If that is the case he’ll struggle to keep up with an on-song Chacun Pour Soi, though there remains the possibility he could still prove a top-class specimen, though I’m rather skeptical myself.
I’m struggling to make a cogent case for the Battleoverdoyen and Sizing Pottsie, and this one looks Chacun Pour Soi’s race to lose, though hopefully Envoi Allen will improve enough to give us a decent contest.
Largy Debut the bet in supporting Grade 1
The other Grade 1 on the card, the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (13:10) has a really spicy look to it, with strong cases to be made for at least four of the six runners.
Elsewhere on these pages (click here to read), my esteemed colleague Kevin Blake has put up his case for Mighty Potter, and it is with a bit of trepidation that I’m prepared to go against the great man here.
I actually tipped up Mighty Potter in this column when he was third last time and was disappointed he couldn’t get the job. He ran a bit of an odd race that day, looking one of the first beaten before staying on strongly late in the day.
A strong pace here would likely see him to much better effect, though I’m not convinced he’ll get that, and I’d have liked to see him stepped up in trip. I suspect he could just find himself tapped foe toe again kept to 2m.
Grangee represents the all-powerful Willie Mullins yard and she has plenty going for her in receipt of the 7 lb mares allowance.
Sixth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March, she was a smooth winner on hurdling debut at Fairyhouse last month, her rider needing only to offer minimal assistance for her to get the job done.
She clearly has scope for plenty of improvement but so too does the selection, Largy Debut.
A winning pointer for Stuart Crawford, Largy Debut scored one of the shocks of the season so far when turning over the 1/14 shot Kilcruit on hurdling bow at Cork earlier this month.
Everything about the effort suggests it should taken at face value however, with the timefigure fully backing up the merit of the performance, with Largy Debut coming ten lengths clear of Kilcruit, despite being eased down late on.
Whilst I fully respect the claims of Mighty Potter and Grangee – and we also have to factor in Three Stripe Life – if Largy Debut produces the same sort of strong-galloping effort in this stronger company, he’ll take plenty of pegging back.
Unable to resist Coko at a big price
My other bet on the Leopardstown card comes in the ferociously competitive Paddy Power Chase at 14:55.
No less than twenty-eight runners are heading to post for what will be something of a cavalry charge, though with enhanced place terms on the Sportsbook, I can’t resist an each-way play on Coko Beach at a big price.
He’s failed to stay 3m 5f at Fairyhouse both times he’s tried that trip (last time and in the Irish National), and this drop back down to 3m should be very much in his favour.
Coko Beach’s form over this trip is some of the best on offer in this race (hence why he’s joint top-weight) but with his capable amateur rider taking off a valuable 7 lb, he could well play a hand in the finish.
Obviously, with so many runners heading to post, we’re going to need plenty of luck, though there’s no way this one is a 25s poke at his best and we should at least get a good run for our money.
I took a good look through the other Irish meeting of the day at Limerick, but nothing really stood out there, so we’re best off focussing on Leopardstown for our Monday wagers, particularly as there is still plenty more quality racing to get stuck into over the next week or so.