Paul Ferguson has a Leopardstown brace to get stuck into today; Hidden Universe (12.30) and Saludos (14.00).
The opening two days at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival have kicked off with a winning favourite in a maiden hurdle and Hidden Universe (12:30) can continue the trend on Thursday.
Dermot Weld’s high-class bumper performer, who met with defeat just once last term in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, won the Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival and relishes testing ground.
A bumper winner at the track on debut, he ought to be hard to beat.
The high-class Mikael D’Haguenet should land the feature Grade 1 novice chase, but with the dead eight runners it can pay to have a small each-way or place bet on Saludos (2:00) who is another real mud-lover.
He has ground to make up with Noble Prince on their meeting at Punchestown in October, but the selection made a terrible error two out that cost him any chance.
With underfoot conditions more to his liking, plus he now races the right way round (jumped left handed on debut) he can reverse form at likely big odds.
Jessie Harrington saddled Bostons Angel to cause a shock in Tuesday’s Grade 1 novice chase and took this contest in 2001 with the mighty Moscow Flyer.Thursday’s selections:
12:30 Leopardstown Hidden Universe
2:00 Leopardstown Saludos (each-way)
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase