Thursday 29th December 2022
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
Welcome aboard to this Thursday blog where I’ll be sharing some punts from Leopardstown on Matheson Hurdle Day. The first race of the day is the 12:00 which is a Handicap Chase over two miles an five furlongs and I like Arctic Ambition here who’s currently trading at 3/1. He’s set to be ridden by Niall Moore on this occasion, who takes off four pounds, when he was last seen he unseated his rider when heavily odds on to follow up an in impressive display at Thurles in November. If getting some luck in the run here I think he’s got a great chance of going well for Gordon Elliott off a low weight.
The 12:35 is up next which is a Maiden Hurdle that’s contested over a distance of two miles and four furlongs. This is an extremely competitive affair, however, I’ve decided to take a chance on the Willie Mullins trained Embassy Gardens here at 6/1, who’s the mount of Sean O’Keeffe. It’s a slight concern that Paul Townend seemingly prefers stablemate Madmansgame, however, I think my selection comes here with solid claims. He finished second on his hurdling debut over a trip that was probably too short for him yet was well clear of the horse in third, he also had some strong bumper form to his name last term, most notably when finishing fifth behind Facile Vega in a Grade 2. I think he could be a smart prospect for Closutton, and is well worth taking a chance on at his price.
The 1:45 is the next race that I’ll be having a punt in and it’s the Grade One Novice Chase over three miles. I’ve sided with another Mullins runner in this and that comes in the form of Gaillard Du Mesnil at 13/8. He arrives here having posted a string of placed efforts in top-level events, finishing third in Grade One contests at the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham, before finishing second on his seasonal reappearance in the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse last month. I think this could well be his day to get his head in front though, he should relish the longer trip he’ll face here and if he gets in a rhythm with his jumping he could well prove to be a tough nut to crack.
It’s the big race of the day up at 2:20 which is the Grade One Matheson Hurdle that’s contested over two miles. State Man is all the rage here for Willie Mullins on the back of his comfortable success in the Morgiana Hurdle, and he’s the rightful odds-on favourite. However, I’ve taken him on here with another Closutton runner, and that’s the four-year-old Vauban who’s a 7/2 chance currently. Set to be ridden by Danny Mullins on this occasion, he’s a horse that I fell in love with last season. He signed off his campaign with back to back victories at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle and Punchestown Festival in the Grade One ‘Champion Four Year Old’ race. He looked to have the world at his feet, and despite reportedly having a few sets back which have delayed his reappearance, I still think he’s a seriously exciting prospect. This is as tough as it gets on your first run of the season, and he’ll have to be really good to come out on top in this particular assignment. But, I think he could be just that.
The concluding race for me will be the 2:55 which is a Handicap Hurdle that’s ridden over two miles and four furlongs. This another fiercely competitive affair, I think it can go to Green Glory though at 15/8 who represents the team of Charles Byrnes and Phillip Byrnes, who takes off five-pounds. He’s by far one of the more unexposed in the line-up, with this race being his first attempt at handicap company. Like a lot of the yards runners in big handicaps, he could well prove to be ahead of the handicapper and despite posting a string of mediocre runs within maiden hurdles, he did win a bumper at the Punchestown Festival. It’s likely that he’s been primed for a shot at a handicap on a big day, and this could be the one.