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Through Irish Eyes: Nichols Canyon surely set for Leopardstown glory

| 29.12.2016

So, three winners yesterday, and though the returns were modest, a step forward is better than a step back.

Let’s start with the obvious one today. I’d be extremely surprised if Nichols Canyon fails to deliver in the 14:30 Ryanair Hurdle.

He faces four rivals here. Petit Mouchoir crashed out of the Fighting Fifth and hasn’t won in a year, but Footpad is a dual Grade one winner with a proven record at this course, while Jers Girl has two top level victories in her form and Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov is also involved.

I think Footpad will be the closest challenger, but favourite Nichols Canyon looks banker material here – and impressed in victory at Punchestown last month.

Meanwhile, in the 13:55 Neville Hotels Novice Chase, four of the ten to line up in the first Grade One of the day have course victories under their belt – and this looks a hugely competitive race.

Alpha Des Obeaux steps back up in trip to a distance where he he chased home Thistlecrack in the World Hurdle. He’s been good over fences getting off the mark in Thurles and nabbing a Grade 3 in Cork just a couple weeks later.

Meanwhile, Our Duke was a very convincing 11 length winner last time and left Prince Of Scars trailing, who today reopposes well in his wake in third.

Briar Hill has been a bit costly to follow and a less reliable sort of Willie Mullins, so I’m looking to favourite Coney Island for the cash in this one. He impressed winning the Drinmore and I reckon he’ll be even more imperious over the extra half mile today.

In the bumper at 15:35, I’m opting for another Mullins horse, but from Thomas’ yard, not Willie’s. His horses are in form and I’m surprised to see Arctic Light priced so much bigger than the Gordon Elliot favourite Burren Life, considering the former has already won and that the form of his latest runner up performance has been franked.

And finally, one for the multiples. I’ll be doubling something up with Let’s Dance in the Grade 3 mares hurdle (13:20), with Willie’s charge surely set to land the hat-trick today.

Enjoy the racing!

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



Hayley O'Connor

Hayley O'Connor is a proud racehorse owner, breeder, self-proclaimed dreamer and PR manager at Ladbrokes. You may have even spotted her riding in the 2015 Charity Race at Cheltenham. Read her exclusive opinions at Ladbrokes News.