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Pirlo jersey Fever, seen here beating My Tent Or Y...

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Pirlo jersey Fever, seen here beating My Tent Or Yours ridden by Tony McCoy to win the William

Started by FDGFDG, 2014/12/23 09:39PM
Latest post: 2014/12/23 09:39PM, Views: 641, Posts: 1
Pirlo jersey Fever, seen here beating My Tent Or Yours ridden by Tony ...
#1   2014/12/23 09:39PM
Rarely has a horse brought as stratospheric a reputation to Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day as Vautour will for Friday’s Grade One feature where the common view will be he is as big a Christmas certainty as indigestion.
Ruby Walsh admits it is “breaking his heart” to skip Vautour in the Racing Post Novice Chase in order to go to Kempton for the Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen and Champagne Fever in the King George, a pair that could hardly normally be classed as consolation prizes.
However neither Walsh nor Willie Mullins bothers to disguise the regard in which they hold a horse who is unbeaten in half a dozen starts for the champion trainer. Since his likely main threat, Clarcam, was eight lengths behind Vautour when both made their chasing debuts at Navan, the formbook, and the bookmakers, say the younger rival, and the four others in the €85,000 event are wasting their time.
White-hot favourites
But reputation and a short-SP are hardly infallible. If they were another heavy odds-on favourite trained by Mullins, owned by Rich Ricci, and ridden by Paul Townend, Mikael D’Haguent, wouldn’t have flopped in this race in 2010. Nor would Champagne Fever have last year.
Record crowds are expected at Leopardstown for the four-day Christmas Festival. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHOBumper crowds expected at Irish tracks for quality Christmas race cards
Gilgamboa will be the principal focus of the McManus team’s attention at Limerick on Friday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHOAll eyes on Gilgamboa in Limerick’s Friday feature race
Enda Bolger sends On The Fringe on the long journey north to Down Royal in an attempt to follow up a 2013 St Stephen’s Day victory there On the Fringe seeking the spotlight at Down Royal on Friday
Rugby Walsh believes the step up to three miles will suit Champagne P... jersey Fever, seen here beating My Tent Or Yours ridden by Tony McCoy to win the William Hill Supreme hurdle, and hopes the grey will be on his best form for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHORuby Walsh hoping Champagne Fever will sparkle in King George Chase
Arvika Ligeonniere was odds-on for the same team in 2012 and won, although hardly impressively, while the odds-on Bog Warrior was widely assumed to be a “shoo-in” three years ago but fell, allowing Blackstairmountain, ironically for the Walsh-Ricci-Townend team, to go and win.
However there are red-hot favourites and then white-hot favourites, and if Vautour doesn’t light up this Stephens’s Day action then the hiss of expectations fizzing out will be heard all the way from south Dublin to Mullins’s Co Carlow base Manchester United Di Maria jersey and beyond.
In a sport where disaster can lurk just a step away, never mind a fence away, even hardened professionals are starting to get giddy when it comes to trying to predict how far Vautour might go over fences. And if the sky is the limit for him long-term, then him getting beaten this Christmas will be beyond most imaginations.
Kalkir is already a general second-favourite for the Triumph Hurdle in March after making an impressive Irish debut in Grade Three company at Fairyhouse a month ago.
The Mullins runner has to concede a penalty for that success all round in the Grade Two Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle but is difficult to oppose although a more slick round of jumping this time could leave the filly Kabjoy considerably closer to him.
Alvisio Ville is the latest French recruit to appear [... jersey[/b] from the Mullins yard and goes in an opening maiden hurdle which hosts a quartet of Tony Martin runners, half of the famously shrewd trainer’s St Stephens Day team at Leopardstown.
They include Gigginstown’s Beau Et Sublime who was only narrowly beaten on his bumper debut and was set a big task against the highly-promising Boldini afterwards.
Martin can also take the other maiden hurdle with Velvet Maker who can make his experience tell over another JP McManus-owned jumping newcomer, Joshua Lane, who was third in the Cheltenham Bumper last March.
Spacious Sky is another Martin hopeful in the handicap hurdle and some of this horse’s form on the flat makes him look a very attractive proposition in this company. The five year old would hardly like ground conditions to get too testing however and a value alternative may be the in-form Deano.
Alamein was the one with the thankless task of chasing home Forgotten Rules in a bumper at Punchestown last Spring and has a first start for Mouse Morris in the bumper. Easy Street is the Mullins runner here and the son of the recently deceased High Chaparral carries John Magnier’s colours.

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