A host of stars on show at Leopardstown

The four day Christmas Festival at Leopardstown commences on Tuesday and it promises to see even more of the top jumping stars than usual appearing over the course of the week. The Savills Chase will take pride of place on Thursday, but the action will be high quality from day one.

The first of the Grade 1’s takes place tomorrow with the Racing Post Novice Chase. Only four go to post, but none are there to purely make up the numbers. Of course Facile Vega will take all the beating, but My Mate Mozzie is a strong traveller, Sharjah a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and Found A Fifty a fine second in the Drinmore earlier this month.

Wednesday brings us the first appearance on track since his brilliant Supreme win at Cheltenham of Marine Nationale. It will also be his debut over fences and whilst it is only in a Beginners Chase, the opposition will be strong with Ho My Lord one of two able runners from the Willie Mullins team.

We then have back to back Grade 1’s starting with the Paddys Rewards Chase over 2m. Captain Guinness representing Henry de Bromhead is the likely favourite, but he must take on four Mullins opponents including the progressive mare Dinoblue. Nine go to post for the Future Champions Novice Hurdle, led by the unbeaten pair Down Memory Lane and Daddy Long Legs.

If that were not enough the big handicap of the week, the Paddy Power Chase will contain its usual thrills and spills with the maximum field of 28 involved. Predictably Gordon Elliott (9), Mullins (6) and de Bromhead (4) dominate the line up.

We are yet to see the final declarations for Thursday, but a stellar field for the Savills looks assured now with reigning Gold Cup winner Galopin des Champs set to take on the pretenders to the crown in Gerri Colombe and Fastorslow. The Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle precedes the big race with Home by the Lee likely to bid for a repeat win in this stayers event.

Friday is headlined by the Matheson Hurdle in which State Man is likely to be a warm order assuming Impaire et Passe is rerouted to Cheltenham. The Nevilles Hotels Novice Chase is always won by a top stayer and Flooring Porter will look to back up the promise he showed on chasing debut at Cheltenham back in October, with a switch back to going left-handed a huge plus. American Mike, Corbetts Cross and Klassical Dream could combine to make this the race of the week in Dublin, though most have alternative engagements in a Grade 1 at Limerick on Thursday.


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