St Stephen’s Day Preview – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

I’m writing this on Saturday after a day of hunting with the family with the Woodstown Harriers in Waterford writes DAVY RUSSELL.

It was a great craic having the kids out with me… Lily, Finn and Liam following in behind.

There were plenty of potential great jockeys for the future out with us including a few blasts from the past… they included former Grade 1 and Cheltenham Festival-winning rider Robert Widger who was there with us too.

Anyway, Christmas will be lovely this year as I’ve no bother about making a riding weight on St Stephen’s Day.

I’m already thinking about Christmas lunch, and I’ll drive on alright 😊.

I’ll be doing some more hunting over the period, but cannot wait to watch some of the cracking racing from both sides of the Irish Sea…

 LEOPARDSTOWN

12.00pm Leopardstown

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Despite the fact the D B Cooper got beaten on his first run in Fairyhouse the last day, I’d say that was a fair enough start and he will build on that. He will need to though as Ascending is a fair horse and Anotherway makes his debut and could be anything.

12.35pm Leopardstown

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If at first you don’t succeed and all that… well, Gordon and the lads will be hoping that King Of Kingsfield will make it fourth time lucky over hurdles. This lad won his bumper so well up in the North at Down Royal last November and then ended up finishing a good third to A Dream To Share in Punchestown. He’s now finished second on all three starts over hurdles including in the Grade One Royal Bond the last day. I’d be surprised if he’s not up to getting the job done here – although it never seems that straightforward.

1.10pm Leopardstown (Dublin Juvenile Hurdle – Grade Two)

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The first of the real mouthwatering Christmas clashes when we get to see how good Mighty Bandit might be against of host of Willie Mullins runners. This lad is by Order Of St George and made such an impressive start over hurdles in Punchestown last month winning by the best part of ten lengths. He’s thrown into Grade Two company here but on that showing is more than up to it. Gordon also saddles the filly Kala Conti who gets a nice allowance and has a fair bit more experience too. Willie (Mullins) saddles the hooded filly Kargese for Kenny Alexander who could be the pick of his five.

2.20pm Leopardstown (Racing Post Novice Chase – Grade One)

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Only the four runners in this and it’s a real shame that Inthepocket has met with a setback after being supplemented. All eyes will be on Facile Vega as he looks to add a top flight win over fences to his CV after winning the Grade One over hurdles as a novice at this meeting last year. His chasing debut in Navan was impressive considering he didn’t jump that fluently but was still far too strong for Inthepocket late on. Gordon saddles Found A Fifty who drops in trip having finished second in the Drinmore the last day. He’s been quite keen over further so the distance may actually suit. It promises to be a good clash.

LIMERICK

1.33pm Limerick (Grade Two Novice Hurdle)

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Gordon looks to have a strong hand in this with two Gigginstown runners. Search For Glory put it all together in Cork the last day and a repeat of that would be good enough here. He may have most to fear from his stablemate Stellar Story who takes a big step up in trip. That may help and he will love conditions too.

KEMPTON

1.55pm Kempton (Christmas Hurdle – Grade One)

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Constitution Hill will be a silly price as he bids to extend his unbeaten record. Only five take him on here and it would be a big shock even anything gets close enough to even ruffle his feathers.

2.30pm Kempton (Ladbrokes King George VI Chase)

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The feature race of the day over in England where we are left with only the six runners now. Gordon and the team rightly felt that the ground wasn’t soft enough for Gerri Colombe who we will get to see later in the week on these shores. Allaho looks the one to beat on the back of a good reappearance. He showed this trip is no bother to him in Punchestown last year and he’s plenty of speed. I suppose if there is a worry it might be the bounce factor which has to be at the back of your mind. Last year’s winner Bravemansgame will keep him honest but may not have his gears. If Shishkin starts he won’t be far away. That’s the big ‘if’ though! If you had to narrow me down to one I’d guess it would be Allaho.

Happy Christmas
Davy

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Author: Eugene Morris