After Kempton’s King George meeting, the Christmas spotlight switches to Ireland, where Leopardstown is in the middle of a four-day programme of superb action.
With the long-time staying champion Big Buck’s out for the rest of the season because of injury, the World Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival in March is very much up for grabs. One of the chief pretenders to the throne will be Noel Meade’s five-year-old if he can complete the successful step-up to 3m in this Grade Two event.
A horse I have huge respect for, he was a talented novice last term when finishing third to the mighty Simonsig at the Festival. He began this season as a potential Champion Hurdle contender and, one day, he will make a chaser. But for now, he can reverse form from his last outing at Fairyhouse when second to today’s likely favourite, Zaidpour, who needs right-handed tracks to be seen at his best.
THURSDAY: ALAND ISLANDS FELL
BOXING DAY: RAYA STAR 2ND (8/1)
TIP OF THE DAY SUPPLIED BY SCOOP RACING (RICHARD SILVERWOOD).