Another Leopardstown Winner For O’Brien

There are few things surer in life than death, taxes and Willie Mullins having a rake of winners at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

The action in Foxrock draws to a close on Thursday and Mullins again looks likely to be back in the winners enclosure but for the first time over the four days, one thing that is certain is that he won’t be winning the first race on day four.

Taaffe To Bag A Christmas Winner
With no runner in the race not even Willie Mullins can continue his sequence of winning the Leopardstown opener but after enjoying a few decent months, trainer Tom Taaffe can go home with a Leopardstown winner courtesy of I Knew Well.

The seven-year-old backed up a decent effort at Naas to go and score at Fairyhouse earlier in the month and he did it well enough to suggest he could go in again here.

The step up in trip is interesting given that his two hurdle wins both came over two-miles as well but he did have a decent run over hurdles over 2m2f and 2m4f and with the talented Chris Timmons booked to ride again, it would be disappointing if they can’t justify favouritism.

Alpha To Deny Island
Coney Island won the Drinmore Novice Chase in good style at Fairyhouse and again meets Alpha Des Obeaux who was third on that occasion but the distance of three miles could bring about a difference in the outcome with Alpha Des Obeaux selected to come out on top.

Always highly regarded by Morris, Alpha Des Obeaux was primed for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham last season but bumped into the one and only Thistlecrack and there is little wrong with that form looking back on it now.

In the Drinmore he ran a game race to finish third behind the JP McManus pair of Coney Island and Anibale Fly but that trip was just too short for him and expect him to turn the tables under Bryan Cooper.

Another Leopardstown Winner For O’Brien
JP McManus will have four to watch in the novice handicap hurdle with Barry Geraghty opting to ride Noel Meade’s Stretchingthetruth but it’s Joseph O’Brien’s Exactoris that is preferred.

The market could prove a good guide to how this one is expected to fare out but Exactoris was staying on nicely at Fairyhouse last time behind Bel Ami De Sivola and subsequent winner Teacher’s Pet.

He’s now expected to go and reverse his form with Bilko from the same race.

Stretchingthetruth takes a drop in class after being well behind Death Duty last time and should run well but Johnny Slevin takes a valuable 7lbs off the selection and hopefully that can see him edge it.

Recommended Bets:
I Knew Well (5/2) – 12:20 Leopardstown
Alpha Des Obeaux (9/2) – 1:55 Leopardstown
Exactoris (6/1) – 3:05 Leopardstown

*Prices correct at time of publication