Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Friday; Sir Des Champs in the 3.00 at Leopardstown. Compare odds and bet.
This afternoon’s renewal of the Lexus Chase is an absolute cracker and soon after 3pm we will know whether or not the top-class Flemenstar can do it over 3m or not.
Regular readers of this column will know I’m a huge fan of the horse and he’s been selected here several times, going back as far as when he won his beginners chase at Navan last November.
More recently, I put him up to beat Sir Des Champs in the John Durkan, which he did convincingly, and, while I don’t really want to take him on, at the prices I’m going to today with his stamina not assured (he’s so good over 2m-2m4f I just have a doubt personally, though his pedigree suggests otherwise).
Willie Mullins’ charge, who was unbeaten over fences until meeting with that reversal, ran as though in need of the race and, with the step back up in trip and this slightly better ground in his favour, I’m taking a chance on Sir Des Champs (3:00) who was available at 3/1 with Bet365 on Thursday evening.
The six-year-old didn’t travel with his usual fluency, but still performed admirably in second and he is tentatively selected to reverse form with the favourite and regain the winning thread.
The enigmatic Tidal Bay has looked as good as ever this season and is respected for Paul Nicholls, while Hidden Cyclone is another horse I have long been a fan of and he should appreciate the step up to 3m. Shark Hanlon’s stable-star is three from four over fences and remains a high-class prospect, but as he’s officially the lowest rated horse in the contest, I had hoped he’d have been a bit bigger (drifted to a more realistic 11/1 with Hills overnight).
Whatever happens, I think this could well be the race of the Festive period.
3:00 Leopardstown: Sir Des Champs (3/1 Bet365)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)