Through Irish Eyes: Lump on Willie’s usual suspects at Leopardstown

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So after two days of proper elbow grease and studying the form in search of value I’m out in the cold. By contrast, the fair-weather punters who’ve parked at the bar in Leopardstown drinking hot toddies and backing Willie Mullins have cleaned up, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

As the old saying goes: “better a short-priced winner than big priced loser.”

For today’s tips, I’m going to start backwards with the bumper.

Patrick Mullins has spoken highly of his ride Carter McKay who won his point-to-point by 10 lengths. I think he’ll show he could be worth his hefty price tag in the 15:35.

But at the current odds I’ll need to double up so I’m banging him together with Willie’s in the first, Montalbano, who is apparently doing everything right at home and in good order for his Irish debut.

Elsewhere, the 13:50 Christmas Hurdle is breaking my heart a little as I’m a massive fan of Clondaw Warrior, Shaneshill AND Vroum Vroum Mag, all for very different reasons, so to see them take each other on is both good and bad.

Clondaw is a hugely versatile horse and the kind any owner would dream of. He’ll get you in the winner’s enclosure, be it at Royal Ascot or the Galway races. But Ruby isn’t riding his wife’s part-owned horse today, handing the reins to his capable sister Katie, which says something.

I love Shaneshill, who always proves a good each way bet at the Cheltenham festival, finishing second in the bumper, only beaten by Douvan in the Supreme and again finishing runner-up in the RSA last season.

He’s lots of class but his trainer’s comments in his Racing Post article this morning suggest that he hasn’t hit form. That gives me concern that he’s not cherry ripe just yet.

So that leaves us with Vroum Vroum Mag, and an unknown quantity from Nicky Henderson’s yard in Kotkikova. She’s having her first run outside of France where she dominated at the top level.

I’m sticking with Vroum Vroum Mag, who should come on from her seasonal debut where she was narrowly beaten by race fit Apple’s Jade in the Hatton’s Grace.

In the Lexus, I have always adored Djakadam, but was admittedly extremely taken by Valseur Lido in Down Royal. He is a really beautiful jumper who loves his job, yet Djakadam is still entitled to improve from his official rating of 170. And still being just seven years of age, I’ll stick to Rich Ricci’s colours once again.

I can hear you in my head thinking “boring, boring, boring” so my adventurous bet of the day is going to be in the 14:25.

The ground is coming right for Camlann, a son of Cape Cross, and Rachael Blackmore claims 5lbs. At double figures I think this duo are a value bet each way.

Happy punting.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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