Leopardstown Christmas Festival Day 4 tips: Alpha holds all the aces
David Metcalf | 29 December 2016
It all adds up to Alpha Des Obeaux in Neville Hotels Novice Chase
Alpha Des Obeaux looks the answer to the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at 13.55 on the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, now stepped up to 3m.
The Mouse Morris trained gelding was a top class staying hurdler who ran a blinder to finish a seven length runner-up to the brilliant Thistlecrack in this year’s World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Although no match for the facile winner, the six-year-old was the only one to try and give the Colin Tizzard trained superstar a race and the pair pulled 22 lengths clear of the field.
It was a tremendous effort but connections always maintained that Alpha Des Obeaux would come into his own when going over fences.
Well-suited by emphasis on stamina
After shaping as if badly needing the run on debut over them at Tipperary, he scored in good style at Thurles before going on to land a Grade 2 over 2m 4f at Cork when jumping well and staying on strongly to score by 3 1/4 lengths.
Alpha Des Obeaux backed that up with a solid 4 1/2 length third to Coney Island in a Grade 1 contest over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse when getting tapped for toe in the closing stages.
Although he has work to do on the book to turn the tables with the winner, the selection will relish the step up in trip and is strongly fancied to gain his revenge and get back to winning ways.
Petit Mouchoir primed Ryanair Hurdle mission
Petit Mouchoir has shaped well in both starts this season and looks decent value to turn over Nichols Canyon and land the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle (14.30).
The five-year-old had some very useful form to his name last season when in the care of Willie Mullins, opening his account over hurdles at the first time of asking when scoring easily at Thurles, before running a blinder when stepped up into Grade 1 company and finishing a 1 1/2 length third to Long Dog at this meeting.
He has since joined Henry De Bromhead and looked the likely winner of the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time out, when travelling powerfully at the head of affairs and coming to grief three from home.
To find out the full reasons why he is worth a bet to turn over the red-hot favourite check out our full in-depth preview of the race.
Exactoris appeals on handicap debut
Exactoris was a big eye-catcher last time out and looks worth a wager at the the odds on offer in the 2m 4f Top Oil E.B.F. Novice Handicap Hurdle (15.05).
Trained by Joseph O’Brien, the five-year-old stayed on strongly from well off the pace to be nearest at the finish and a 3 1/2 length fourth to Bel Ami De Sivola at Fairyhouse.
It was a highly encouraging comeback run after 128 days on the sidelines and Exactoris has been allotted an opening handicap mark of 123 on the back of it.
That could well be on the lenient side given that he has some smart form to his name in bumpers and the J P McManus owned gelding looks a potential improver now going down the handicap route.
Connections has also booked promising young rider J J Slevins to do the steering and, if taking his 7lb claim into account, Exactoris looks weighted to take all the beating.
Leopardstown tips for Thursday, December 29
12.20: I Knew Well
12.50: Coeur Joyeux
13.55: Alpha Des Obeaux (NAP)
14.30: Petit Mouchoir
15.05: Exactoris (NB)
15.35: Burren Life